OFMdFM: Collegiality, my eye…

When Peter Robinson refused to go to Downing Street to meet Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister jumped on a plane and came to Stormont House. It was something of a rebuke for the First Minister. Portraying himself as ‘a cool dude’ after the meeting with Mr Brown Peter Robinson asked “Do I look under pressure ?” He was under pressure. Sources close to Mr. Brown spoke of his ‘tetchiness’ at Mr. Robinson’s behaviour. Gordon Brown was genuinely concerned that the DUP would pocket all financial gains in the policing and justice package and then sit back. That is precisely what Peter Robinson has done. He has pocketed what was in the till and now he is doing a ‘Mr. Micawber’ coming back for more. To sicken Sinn Fein the DUP has raised the bar in holding up the transfer of policing and justice powers in seeking the dismantling of the Parades Commission.

This provoked a backlash from Gerry Adams and from other Sinn Fein spokespersons in which the Dup rejoiced. “Calm down” has become the new DUP catchphrase. There was worse to come. On Friday last Gerry Kelly discovered former police reservists were in the running for a twenty million pounds windfall. This drove Gerry Kelly apoplectic. The DUP had done a side deal with Gordon Brown and didn’t tell Sinn Fein.

The junior minister rumbled this development when a Downing Street letter was directed to the office of first and deputy first minister but was essentially for the attention of Peter Robinson. The First Minister accused Sinn Fein of “snooping” on his correspondence.

Can you imagine Gordon Brown publicly accusing his chancellor of “snooping” on his correspondence?

The DUP’s Gregory Campbell is back again prodding Sinn Fein in the ribs appealing to Martin Mc Guinness to ask his colleagues “to calm down.” Collective responsibility, collegiality my eye! Where is all this leading?

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  • interested

    The Dup will need more help to sell it to the Unionist Community, so evry little extra helps.

  • Panic, These Ones Likes It Up Them.

    If the British goverment cannot trust the Unionists when they strike a deal with them then do Unionists really believe that this will be good for their Bona Fides long term.

    Who deals honestly with those that cannot be trusted especially in the long term.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    re. “That is precisely what Peter Robinson has done. He has pocketed what was in the till and now he is doing a ‘Mr. Micawber’ coming back for more.”

    Havent the Alliance party suggested otherwise today?

  • austin

    Jim Allister is securing a great deal for unionism in the P and J negotiations.

    He’s getting more concessions by being out of the room than if he were in it.

    His stooge, Robinson, is pushing Allister’s demands to the nth degree safe in the knowledge that the supine Shinnners will do their usual Stretch Armstrong impression by bending back a bit further, yet again.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Sammy, I’d say there’s concern about any delay in getting the job done. There’s no excuse for any further delays beyond the new year.

  • fin

    he’s not got much to pocket, outside of financing the operational costs of P&J it currently amounts to one month’s salary for ex-coppers, of course he’ll only start fighting for his career in a couple of years time when there is a SF or SDLP Justice minister, of course he may well have been Lundyfied by then.

    Once SF get P&J and Parading transferred I guess the focus will shift to gaining a local tax raising powers.

  • J Kelly

    fin and would that surprise you p and j, tax harmonisation across the island and on and on sf will not not stop,

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    CS,

    I agree, but hopefully Wee Davey is correct about the conditionality of the monies.

    Fin,

    re. Transferring Parades – there are serious dangers for both the DUP and SF if/when this comes to pass. All contentionus parades will surely either end up before the courts or before s Stormo committee – where the Alliance party will surely hold the deciding vote.

    I cannot see how any sensible adjudactor can rule that it is right to allow an anti-Catholic parade through a Catholic residential area, in the same way they would not allow a BNP march through an Asian area and I will be surpised if someone like Ashdown would want to be responsible for such an outcome from his committee’s work.

    The DUP position of support for Asdown’s committee seems to suggest they believe they will get a better outcome in parading than at present – perhaps it is spin but it will be interesting to see how the debate unfolds in the next few days/weeks with perhaps some unsease showing through from the Tories if the UUP come over all Orangey.

    re. Tax harmonisation. It is difficult for Unionism knowing that every time a ‘practical’ measure life taxation is transferred to Stormo it has potential for Nationalism to try and harmonise it with the dreaded papal state to the south. The more harmonisation the more decolonisation.

  • It is leading to an assembly election, which SF will relish as an opportunity to eradicate the SDLP and take the First Minister’s office, and which the DUP will relish, similarly, as an opportunity to eradicate the TUV by calling for a united unionist vote against SF getting the First Minister’s position.

  • Comrade Stalin

    fin:

    Once SF get P&J and Parading transferred I guess the focus will shift to gaining a local tax raising powers.

    I don’t see how that can happen in a way that is useful. Not unless there is a federal UK, something which is not completely impossible.

    J Kelly:

    fin and would that surprise you p and j, tax harmonisation across the island and on and on sf will not not stop,

    You mean, we should pay higher VAT and income tax just like our southern counterparts ? You think that’s a vote winner ? What other areas do you think we should harmonize. Should we abolish the NHS and require everyone to have health insurance and pay charges to doctors ?

    Sammy:

    I agree, but hopefully Wee Davey is correct about the conditionality of the monies.

    I think Ford believes that the deal may not necessarily stand following a general election, if the Conservatives get in. Cameron did not commit fully to the deal, there is plenty of wriggle room there. And if he bins the deal, so what ? It’s not like his electorate is going to hate him for cutting spending in NI.

  • Panic, These Ones Likes It Up Them.

    Ah who cares about fancy dress parades anyways.

    “Runs for the old tin hat”

  • fin

    Sammy, I think the UUP will keep stum and leave Peter to do a Trimble and Lundify himself, the transfer of Parading comes with Human Rights baggage for the DUP, a OO March complying with future regulations will be unrecognisable, no offensive banners or music, no criminals and of course a need to sit down with SF and resident groups to discuss in advance.

    Peters problem is he made such a big deal of P&J he needs to be seen to extract a price for it and I don’t think he really knows what he can go for (obviously a shopping list of planning application approvals are out) his wishlist at StAndrews wasn’t all that. Been unionists of the backwoods variety he has to be careful that he asks for nothing that may in anyway benefit the nationalist community or else the Jimhadists will have him, hence a couple of grand a head for the ex-Trevors is it so far.

    The policing budget is now set so if he wants to retain the FTR he needs to find the cash himself.

    Worse thing is the general election is getting closer, tick tock tick tock, pull something out of the bag time, but what!!

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    CS,

    I agree but we now have Wee Davey in the Stormo tent and wanting said tent to stay erect. The Alliance party have played (albeit a little belatedly) a crucial role in getting things this far and hopefully can use their good offices to keep things going in the right direction – otherwise we can look forward to a very, very, nasty Stormo election.

    Fin,

    The OO seem to be rowing in behind Robbo on this (though the TUV suggest otherwise) which makes the situation even more interesting.

  • west belfast

    Im really finding it difficult to call what will happen next.

    SF has a major decision to make in the coming weeks – whether to trigger an assembly election. If the DUP insists on their stalling tactics I feel SF will pull the plug. I hope the DUP are not believing the shinners will keep stormont afloat no matter what.

    A january election would be very difficult for the sdlp as they try to elect a new leader and sf could take advantage of this.

    It is obvious Robbo has no control of his party and the no men are back in the ascendancy – unionism will again shot itself in the foot.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    west belfast,

    To indulge in my favourite pastime ‘futuring’ – I suspect that Robbo will sell the expected abolition of the Parades Commission as a ‘victory’ even though potentially, based on what we know it might be to Unionism’s disadvantage with SF in agreement. The transfer will go through, after Christmas, and before the election.

  • tkbytesback

    Its time the SDLP found their point of principle and walked from the Executive. Under D Hondt which SF agreed to.. the SDLP is due to have the Justice Ministry. The SDLP has shown more bark than bite.. if a nationalist under the current rules cannot be the justice ministry and Sinn Fein are rolling over to DUP demands.. its time to walk. Let the Executive with the connivance of the unionist Alliance party and the tepid support of Sinn Fein become the old Stormont. Is one Ministry worth the lack of credibility?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    tkbytesback,

    re. Sinn Fein are rolling over to DUP – there is more DUP spinning than SF rolling.

    re. “Under D Hondt which SF agreed to”

    Can you imagine having a DUP minister in that post, or even a UUP Minister – from a Nationalist point of view an Alliance minister is the best choice though I appreciate it it tough on the SDLP – a case of the greater good I’m afraid and ministries may fall differently in 2011 with a 3 way split in Unionism.

  • tkbytesback

    Its not the job of the SDLP to be saviours of the peace process.. its time they demanded their price

  • fin

    CS, according to a recent survey on disposable income it would do the North no harm to aspire to been like the South, 4th in the world I believe for spending power. Also the health system in the South has been discussed before and Health insurance V the NHS tax burden is a bad arguement to have if you’re in favour of the NHS.

    However, my main desire for local tax raising powers is that it cuts yet more strings connecting NI with London. Afterall nationalists don’t want P&J transferred just for the hell of it, its because it makes the PSNI an Irish police force.

    Sammy, the OO was taken over by the DUP years ago and politicised, its the DUP wading in behind the DUP, if you’re not able to be a DUP MP, MLA or Councillor you take a post in the OO, the quality of their MPS ain’t great so ….

  • barnshee

    Local tax RAISING powers?
    take yer pick

    1 Higher income tax
    2 Higher corporation tax
    3 higher Nat insurance
    4 Higher vat
    5 Higher Excise duties
    6 Higher capital gains tax
    7 Higher Rates
    etc etc

    Surefire vote winners all— LOL

  • The real deal

    The Mallie blog shows just how poor a journalist he is. He should remember that he is supposed to be objective not an out and out republican.
    How could anyone suggest that Robinson was rebuked by the PM coming to Belfast? If anything it showed that Robinson was in the driving seat and PMs had to fit into his schedule.
    As for Robinson being under pressure – is Mallie sober? Robinson has played a blinder. Just read what Liam Clarke wrote in the Sunday Times if you want to see the views of a real journalist. Robinson piles up the concessions and SF dont know what’s coming next. If Robinson is under pressure it is to think up new concessions to extract from Brown.

    It seems that Mallie can’t even report simple facts. Robinson has not gone back for any more funds. The Pt Time Res deal was done before the funding letter was sent. Robinson has not sought to re-negotiate the funding deal (which he single-handedly got from the government after SF gave up pressing for more finance).
    Again Mallie gets it wrong about the knowledge SF had about the £20million for the Part Time Reserve. The PM had made the Deputy aware of this issue. SF thought they would leak it out because they could not understand why Robinson had not released it.
    The Republican Mallie asks “Can you imagine Gordon Brown publicly accusing his chancellor of “snooping” on his correspondence?”
    Why would any impartial commentator ask this question? Surely the question they would ask is “Can you imagine the Chancellor leaking correspondence addressed to Gordon Brown? But no! The blatent republicanism of Mallie can only see it SF’s way.
    This Mallie commentary has exposed his bias and true leaning. His anti-DUP propaganda shows how second rate he is as a impartial reporter. People will not forget.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    The real deal,

    RE. “As for Robinson being under pressure – is Mallie sober?”

    Since they signed the STA the DUP have lost about a quarter of their vote to the TUV – when that happens it is safe to assume that the leader of the political party involved is under severe pressure.