Gerry Adams on P&J and the lessons of history…

Gerry Adams has his take on the Policing and Justice debacle on Leargas… I hate to say it, but this blog can only respond to his pointing at May 2008 as evidence of a breach of the St Andrews Agreement, with an “We told you so…” at the very moment when you (and others) were telling us otherwise Gerry…

The reality in the six counties is that the greater the political inequality, the lesser the political stability. That’s the lesson of history. And while nationalists and republicans have been prepared to continually bend themselves to help this peace process, a key political condition has always been the maintenance of a system of equality and partnership as the basis for peaceful and democratic evolution towards a united Ireland.

That’s the bit the DUP – and their ideological counterparts in the Northern Ireland Office – hate the most.

But the British and Irish governments need to realise that’s why things are in difficulties now. And they need to ensure that in keeping with the commitments made at St. Andrews, that the full devolution and implementation of Agreements needs to happen. At St. Andrews all of the parties agreed that signing up to that Agreement meant that the transfer of policing and justice powers would take place by May 2008. We are long past that agreed date.

What is it about May and breached timetables in the Northern Irish peace process? This from Wikipedia:

A date of May 2000 was set for total disarming of all paramilitary groups… The Assembly and Executive were eventually established in December 1999 on the understanding that decommissioning would begin immediately, but were suspended within two months due to lack of progress, before being re-established in May 2000 as Provisional IRA decommissioning eventually began.

Or as Tommie Gorman put back in December 2004, they had ‘a consistent reputation for coming up short and offering ‘post dated cheques’. The deed was eventually done in September 2005

Still Adams’ statement (not to mention Chris’ bold argument last night) deserves a considered response from the DUP telling us exactly why they are continuing to hold out for ‘confidence’ and what, for once, the term actually means…

  • Pete Baker

    A telling line from Gerry’s blog

    “a key political condition has always been the maintenance of a system of equality and partnership as the basis for peaceful and democratic evolution towards a united Ireland.”

    An emerging realisation, by the supporters of “The Blog”, that evolution is not so inevitable as some might have wished would explain the latest maunfactured “crisis”.

    As well as concern about a pyrrhic victory.

  • slug

    What a silly blogger.

  • “It’s all about fightback, standing up for our rights, putting the government in its place. That is out of government buildings.” .. GA

    Thanks for the idea, Gerry. Perhaps we should roll up to Stormont and turf them all out …

  • Dave

    The message that unionists and nationalists overlook is that Gerry isn’t talking about the promotion of Irish nationalism or the attainment of an Irish nation-state but rather he is implicitly rejecting both of those ideals and talking only of seeking the promotion Irish nationalism to equality with British nationalism.

    Equality with British nationalism in Northern Ireland would be an unmerited promotion for Irish nationalism, of course, since it is a British state. However, that equality between British and Irish nationalism would be a demotion for Irish nationalism in Ireland, requiring the dismantlement of the Irish nation-state and its replacement with a replica of Northern Ireland. That is why the quisling muppet won’t get any support for his unity agenda down here.

    If I was a British nationalist, I’d recognise that the British government has positioned the Shinners to undermine Irish nationalism in Ireland and I’d assist him any way I could in promotion of that agenda, stopping short of any unity process (which would be a disaster for both nations on those terms).

  • Dave

    “The message that unionists and nationalists overlook is that Gerry isn’t talking about the promotion of Irish nationalism [b]above British nationalism[/b] or the attainment of an Irish nation-state but rather he is implicitly rejecting both of those ideals and talking only of seeking the promotion [b]of[/b] Irish nationalism to equality with British nationalism.”

  • Mick Fealty

    DC, took out the spam bot comment because it was playing the man, not the ball… I think it’s good to reinforce that reality if only to try and nudge standards upwards…

    Now have a look at this: http://url.ie/3hgx It’s called linking to the data… Every time there is a fault in the machine… the data comes back up… It’s the Giant Global Graph; the Semantic Web…

    I picked these two quotes up from a friend this evening on a very different but tangentially related topic

    “A time like this has cracked open five or six times since we got up on our hind legs. It’s the best possible time to be alive, when almost everything you thought you knew is wrong.”

    Tom Stoppard, Arcadia (1993)

    And:

    “Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.”

    Francis Bacon, The New Organon or True Directions Concerning the Interpretation of Nature (1620)

    Mr Adams on this occasion wants to command nature without first obeying it…

    Come back to me in the morning if you don’t get it… (and apologies to Gerry for cutting him out of the conversation, for now)…

  • iluvni

    “blah,blah, blah…….towards a united Ireland.”

    Has the penny not dropped with him yet?
    It aint happening.

  • Mick Fealty

    That’s not the thing he doesn’t get iluvni… He might actually be right on that score… It’s that he thinks we don’t have accurate memories…

  • Mick Fealty

    Or more specifically, ‘copyable’ memories… We don’t (as in television) need to be told the same message over and over to ‘get it’… you need to get the message in and then move on and tell us something else more interesting/useful to us a citizens… You repeat (particularly in error) and you become dull… Moveon.org is not just a website, it’s the evocation of a new political paradigm… we can trail our memories behind us and reference it at will… even as we move on into the future…

  • Nollaig a chara

    In fairness to Gerry even in the not so distant past some very prominent loyalists (working class unionists) have publicly said that things are heading towards reunification and beleive that it will also be in the best interest of there community to be part of this….

    Regarding the current impasse on P+J it was very clear after the European elections there was never any chance of the DUP entering into any sort of deal with Sinn Fein with the potential of a Westminister election less than 6 months away, they will be looking to get that out of the way and hoping to call the Sinn Fein bluff… A dangerous game I think they are playing

  • DC

    A date of May 2000 was set for total disarming of all paramilitary groups… The Assembly and Executive were eventually established in December 1999

    Yes no thanks to the DUP, who were outside Castle Buildings in 1998 looking in, quite literally, and got in but only to be shouted down by the loyalists as yesterday’s men.

    At least SF were there at the outset however passive they were still there at the table in 1998.

    The yesterday’s men are catching up. Hence the delay today. The problem is centre-right conservative-nationalists running the show, with slight hints of a leftish social slant on education by SF, but that’s the only slither of leftism and they messed that up.

    But still I wouldn’t wish for the decommissioning thing to run while the obnoxious shirkers of the DUP are not reminded of the strategy they once had of outright opposition to devolution in 1998-2003.

    Upon reflection the DUP made a strategic error and SF has already managed to change its tempo quite quickly as it would seem it really only was a group of 8 men or so in Armagh after all; all of whom seem to have actaully wanted peace. The DUP couldn’t quite come to terms with this say from 1998 – 2003 in particular. Perhaps if they had, we might have avoided all the hatred and decommissioning, in an atmosphere with less or little hostility, could have happened sooner.

    Back in the world of 2009 the DUP have to lead their troops away from that once violent hositility to a brave new world of modern government at Stormont; all of this in an environment both missing the peace process stardust and that once growing economy. Plus a DUP leader who seems constantly bitter and losing the fight against public opinion which believes the pace of progress too slow.

    That is why the TUV is making progress as it is simply recapturing old ground, the old grey haired voters who are harden to change thanks to decades worth of DUP drum beating to the tune of never. The DUP is frit, doesn’t know how to move its core vote forward and can’t go back to the heady heights of oppositional glory days, days of easily understood but inaccurate blunt taunts (usually of someone else selling out).

    The party political glide path of the DUP was never on course for power sharing; hence the narrative problems which Fair Deal dreams of dreaming up to convince us all what the DUP did was quite natural and not an opportunist power grab at all; the only reason the DUP as a party landed onto those blue seats was as a result of old Paisley doing a mystifying U-turn. A steep and dramatic change of course for which Paisley’s never offered a believable explanation.

    Perhaps it might have meant him owning up to misjudging the political climate and public aspirations for long-term peace, which usually requires a degree of humility. Something which is certainly lacking in local politics here right across the board, but is certainly missing entirely in even today’s ‘pro-government’ DUP.

  • Nollaig a chara

    @ the same time i’m feed up of Sinn Fein panderig all the time its about time they showed there teeth and a bitta back bone

  • fair_deal

    DC

    ROFLMAO Soooooooooo the failings of the UUP Trimble/Empey era were really all the fault of the DUP. It is sad when dislike of a party blinds a capable person from sensible analysis. That comment is worth a second ROFLMAO.

  • fair_deal

    Question for nationalists

    As far as I can see Sinn Fein don’t face any electoral threat, so would some honesty really hurt them? Would saying they hadn’t got nailed down some of the things they thought they had but they believe these will happen but simply take longer than first envisaged really be such a big deal?

  • “What is it about May”

    Well, Mick, it’s after Easter and militant republicans like Gerry Adams and his ilk would want to have Easter behind them before making any strategic moves that could go tits up.

    “Chris’ bold argument last night”

    It was rather bold to suggest that the Friends of William Orr parade created havoc for the DUP when it could also be demonstrated that it had Philip McGuigan, SF ex-MLA, facing both ways 🙂

  • “Sinn Fein don’t face any electoral threat”

    f_d, there might be the possibility of implosion.

  • “That comment is worth a second ROFLMAO”

    f_d, David Trimble did last a little bit longer in the FM chair than did Ian Paisley but then Ian had to jump a lot further ideologically.

  • fin

    fair_deal, it wasn’t SF who wrote into St Andrews that they believed the confidence would exist in early 2008 to enable the transfer of P&J it was HMG and the Irish Govt.

    The need for honesty is therefore with Gordon Brown, who, should SF walk will need to explain how he calculated the date so badly wrong.

    I wonder if there is actually a legal case, regardless of Micks, Petes, et al stabbing the the St Andrews agreement saying there is no definite deadline even an implied deadline carries legal weight, a legal case is made stronger by the DUPs inability to define ‘confidence’ and I’d love to see Robbo in court claiming a £2k handout to ex-Trevors is key to confidence as is binning the Parades Commission which currently has circa 60% support in the community.

  • DC

    Fair Deal, the nature of your response to mine proves I have a valid point.

    The DUP who went missing circa 1998-2003 are now allowing the lapsing of time itself to do the leading as the world keeps turning, so all the DUP has to do is to standstill and perhaps the old boys in the backwoods will catch up.

    But given the DUP were missing in action for over 5 years shall we say you guys need an additional two years to come up to speed before being able to deal and compromise.

    Because it was December 2006 that SF got the backing of its supporters it is now 2009, if we compare that with 5 years missing in action between 1998-2003 I would imagine you guys in the DUP need another two years worth of the world turning to catch up. And catching up can only happen if the DUP makes things stand still politically speaking. I.e. handbrake on and deadlock. As Jimmy Allister views any piece of progress as a sell-out of massive proportions, which with the old DUP ground still rigid in favour of No, Allister can easily attract those types back to him.

    The DUP can’t go forward can’t go back. No narrative and caught up out of sync having entered the political field out of shape with the direction of play going the other way, in favour of peace and compromising.

  • slug

    If they do well against TUV in the General Election then that would give the DUP confidence to take some steps towards preparing their base for the initiation of a credible process to devise a plan for a start to a quality discussion about devolving P&J powers with ultimatley, in due course, perhaps the devolution of initially a small but significant part of the P&J powers in the overall context of the implimentation of the St Andrews agreement.

  • fair_deal

    fin

    Thank you for your alternate suggestion
    I am sure one of our legal eagles can offer an fully considered legal opinion about whether the legal option is viable. However, IIRC the mention of a date didn’t make it into the legislation (sorry don’t have time at moment to double check) so think that would hamper the theory.

    If SF has the resources to take a legal case then let them pursue it, perhaps it could become part of a post Xmas startegy for them if they want to get off the hook they have put themselves on.

    Do you have a perspective on my question?

    DC

    “the nature of your response to mine proves I have a valid point…..”

    I was a member of the UUP at that time so I saw it all from the inside as well as the outside and continuing with a repetition of the same denialism of Trimble’s failures you have obviously decided to go for three roflmao’s in a row. Your imaginings are as flawed as your analysis.

  • DC

    Then what are the problems with at least communicating with an air of positivity that policing and justice is being worked both in a manner of partnership and in recognition of public expectation of continuing to build on peace.

    Unless of course there are problems? How’s that narrative coming on?

  • DC, I shouldn’t think the public have great expectations. They’ve witnessed some of the impotence of the PSNI unless there is Special Forces back-up. They’re also aware of the ongoing paramilitary control of many local communities and they may well have noted President Mary McAleese’s endorsement of the Finaghy Crossroads Group. Such endorsement would have been agreed in advance with senior UK and Ireland officials.

  • “denialism of Trimble’s failures”

    f_d, David Trimble can hardly be blamed for the premature actions of Ahern and Blair when the prisoners were released without a quid pro quo on paramilitary decommissioning and organised crime. Nor can be be blamed for Jeffrey Donaldson and the DUP doing a runner when the kitchen got a bit too hot. At least Jeffrey lasted a bit longer than the DUP 🙂

  • DC

    So there we have it, Fair Deal was once in the UUP.

    Isn’t it unsurprising then that today’s DUP mirrors yesterday’s UUP when it was once frit; unsurprising because it has imported most of those UUP cowards who once tortured Trimble, the likes of you perhaps, Foster and Weir, but instead now it is you lot who are in the DUP doing exactly likewise. Likewise being failing to move forward because you thrive of the populist negativity towards SF which was so successful in the past. Now however there is a thing called regional government and speaking beyond unionists, to all the people of NI and once again Unionism doesn’t measure up when asked to supply regional leadership. It fails to step up to the mark as it is addicted to the old populist moral-clarity stances on terrorism that was once its staple but with terrorism gone political Unionism has lost its way. Unless of course it pick holes in things for not being perfect despite the political climate being generally quite good.

    At least Jim Allister says he wont take up seats and stay in opposition which is frankly what the DUP is really only kitted out for, hence the problems at trying governing?

    Isn’t it the case Fair Deal that if the UUP were to take a pro-policing stance and opted for movement on the diagnosis of the war being over, while at the same time the TUV fought for none, the DUP could potentially be split in half when the next election comes?

    The only thing preventing this potential electoral split is the matched weakness in leadership inside UUP quarters.

  • fair_deal

    DC

    “what are the problems with at least communicating with an air of positivity that policing and justice is being worked”

    Because Sinn Fein seemed to decide months ago that they wanted an air of crisis not partnership playing on old outdated stereotypes of the DUP that many have fallen for.

    If you could overcome your dislike of the DUP for a few moments you would see a reasonable track record in the last year or so of making steady progress.

    For all the chuckling more practical progres on P&J has been made under Robinson. An AG identified. The steps document agreed and acted upon. A good financial package achieved (largely by not accepting the first thing Brown offered but by playing some hardball). DUP voted for the legislation to make the creation of a new ministry possible. Confidence building measures identified to government. Nominations for a minister sought. For all the talk of fear of the TUV please note most of this happened after the European election. However, like Sinn Fein all this seems to have escaped you or is unfairly dismissed.

    Yes I have been a member of both and they are both very different creatures. I have yet to hear any private chatter of a split at any level of the party. The DUP attitude is the same as it was before st andrews if the deal is good enough a deal will be done.

  • DC

    “If you could overcome your dislike of the DUP for a few moments you would see a reasonable track record in the last year or so of making steady progress.”

    That would be like asking me to ditch logic and the reasoning as to why I have reached a certain degree of considered dislike for the DUP, which can be found in my many previous posts about that party.

    It isn’t unthinking hostility to your party that I am using here, I’m asserting my belief that that party under Paisley played on prejudices using political fundamentalism only to deliver a pragmatic politics which Paisley prevented the UUP doing 10 years ago. The DUP prevented the UUP and the region here from progressing by using fundamentalism and moral clarity if you like, which ultimately had a high human cost, but now the DUP have ditched that themselves – only after having reachied the zenith of Paisley’s accumulated power – which as I have said was built up using excessive negativity and fear.

    Basically the DUP made a costly strategic error (costly in terms of lives, time and reputation etc), it’s all the more pointless whenever there was an opportunity to achieve pretty much the same goals and outcome without stoking division and encouraging risking human lives.

    This costly analysis can also be dropped down into policy areas over RUC-to-PSNI police change which if the UUP had been supported unionism may have had better traction over changes to that line of work; instead everthing was delivered by Paisley in explosive rhetoric making it impossible to steady things and argue change through in a rational way, a way more beneficial to unionists.

    As it turns out those changes have been on the whole necessary and accepted. Another strategic error by the DUP.

    But still, hey I should wipe all of that out and look favourably on a party that believes the world is flat and was created not that long ago.

    Face it Paisley took his people for a ride at such a high cost for such a long time.

  • Sam Thompson

    the man lied his way to the top over 30 years. i feel no pity for the DUP. for all their failings, at least the UUP, on occasion, tried to make progress. they might have made more, but for fear of paisley’s populist bluster

  • Unionist

    Sam,

    The UUP might have made more progress if they had not been comprehensively Judased by SF/PIRA.

  • Dixie Elliott

    When Gerry was a barman I wonder did he put cheap whiskey in the bottles of more expensive brands and sell it as the real thing?

  • fair_deal

    DC

    No it would be asking you to engage with new information rather than wallow in self-justification. In case you hadn’t noticed Ian Paisley is no longer the leader of the DUP try to keep up. The rest is simply a repetition of your original point that someohow it was all the DUP’s fault for the UUP being incapable.

  • Sam Thompson

    ‘The UUP might have made more progress if they had not been comprehensively Judased by SF/PIRA’

    if the other unionist party had mucked in and helped, rather than left the UUP fighting republicans on one front and the DUP’s sniping on the other, it might have helped. just a shame the DUP chose the cowardly option, now they’re reaping the rewards of having to make difficult decisions when dealing with republicans, and a hardline unionist group trying to outflank them. what goes around…

  • Panic, These ones like it up em.

    Dixie Elliot said

    “5.When Gerry was a barman I wonder did he put cheap whiskey in the bottles of more expensive brands and sell it as the real thing?”

    In planet real world how many barmen have not done that or similiar. Certainly I am sure many bar managers or landlords have done it.

    I’ll start this with a HO HO HO

    Perhaps it was Gerrys unwillingness to indulge in such shenanigans that showed that he was not licensed Victuallers (spel !)material.

    I will finish with a He he he.

  • Mick Fealty

    Dixie,

    That’s not something a teenager could have hoped to have profited by, but the practice would not have been unknown in 1960s Belfast.