“The crisis for the party is real..”

In the Belfast Telegraph, Eamonn McCann reckons “Martin McGuinness isn’t bluffing.” Perhaps. But while he maps out most of the background to the “crisis”, again, there is one element he neglects. Sinn Féin’s support for policing was required in order to restore the institutions in 2007. [*Cuckoo* *Cuckoo* – Ed] Indeed. Any promises made by that party’s leadership in order to deliver that support are the responsibility of that party’s leadership – as is any subsequent “breathtaking display of conceptual gymnastics”. Not any other party. As Peter Robinson said

[Peter Robinson] “Well, if Sinn Féin oversold what they thought they could achieve then they are answerable to those to whom they sold that package. The reality is they weren’t entitled to sell it.”

Now, back to the Processing..

, , , ,

  • igor

    I think you are wrong. This is all recoverable. There’s a lot of spleen and hot air being vented but much of that is wiggling and positioning for the compromises that must follow.

    We all need this to work. They all need it to work and they will find a way to make it work. Unusually for NI there is a strong correlation between the self interests of all of our political class and the community.

  • Quagmire

    I have to concur with Eamonn on this one. I don’t think SF are bluffing.What we are witnessing now is another “O’Neill” moment. Unionism has a stark choice to make, namely operate the institutions on the basis of equality and treat nationalists as equal partners or simply don’t therefore conspiring to bring the whole thing to a halt. I really don’t think unionists understand the magnitude of this moment.There’s been a lot of talk of re-negotiation or another election if Stormont falls apart, which is a complete false economy. The negotiations have already been done via GFA and St. Andrews. There will be no more negotiations. If Stormont goes now, it will be for good and unionism will only have it-self to blame. If this happens nationalsits/ republians will shed no tears.

  • bigchiefally

    So the whole NI gov comes down because parties cant agree on Policing and Justice? Is that really it? Are non politicians of all sides here that bothered about the issue? Surely we have countless more important ones to deal with.

  • Quagmire

    “So the whole NI gov comes down because parties cant agree on Policing and Justice? Is that really it? Are non politicians of all sides here that bothered about the issue? Surely we have countless more important ones to deal with.”
    Posted by bigchiefally on Dec 11, 2009 @ 03:01 PM

    The issue is deeper than simply P&J. In a sense P&J is irrelevant.The problem is the DUP’s inability to recongnise the fact that nationalists/republicans live here too and make up 40% – 50% of the population. They need to recognise that the institutions have to operate on the basis of equaity or else they don’t operate at all. The British govt, the Irish govt, the U.S. administration, the majority of the people of the north, the majority of the parties in the assembly all want to move forward, but we can’t because Peter is looking over his shoulder at Jim, Nigel, Gergory et al. But then what else would you expect from a party that believes the world was created 6,000 years ago. They are a joke, they are fantasists and its time the British,as the soveirgn govt, grow a set and bring them back to reality. All they are proving by their intransigence, is their naked sectarianism and bigotry and perhaps more importantly that the north is ungovernable. They will be the authors of their own demise. If Stormont falls it will be for the last time.

  • interested

    I think Sinn Fein are handling this the wrong way are they really wanting to bring down the NI Assembly and then going into an election with nothing to show for it but a collapsed Assembly and the mess over education they have created. Sinn Fein will be to blame as it will be them alone who walk away, especially as the DUP want P&J but only when the outstanding issues are resolved, would it not be better to resolve the few remaining issues, do Sinn Fein want to risk dealing with a Conservative Government and do they want to risk an end to devolution for good.

  • Greenflag

    quagmire ,

    ‘But then what else would you expect from a party that believes the world was created 6,000 years ago.’

    Jayzus -I’d forgotten that . Must be tough for SF having to deal with a shower of troglodytes who still believe Archbishop Ussher got the numbers right back in 1650 or thereabouts 🙁

    interested ,

    ‘do Sinn Fein want to risk dealing with a Conservative Government ‘

    What’s the risk ? The Tories have proven themselves quite capable of closing down Stormont if necessary .

    ‘do they want to risk an end to devolution for good.’

    Unionists lost out the last time Stormont closed down. Next time it’ll be just history repeating itself .

    I believe that SF will not fall for DUP ‘provocation’ but will hang around until at least the next NI Assembly election . They’ll probably want to have a ringside seat as the several ‘unionist ‘ parties tear each other apart and bring down Stormont rather than having to sit in an Assembly with a Shinner as FM .

  • Dave

    The problem with ‘the legitimate government of Ireland’ guff is that the muppets will only get uppity about something if the Army Council tells them to get uppity, since it is that illegal committee that is the ‘government’ to which they owe their unthinking allegiance (in the absence of a state).

    Since Gerry and Martin left the Army Council prior to endorsing the legitimacy of the ‘British Crown Forces’ but placed their own stooges on it, perhaps one of those stooges is stirring it up in regard to being misled by Gerry and Martin about a target date being a deadline? I don’t think the muppets would figure it out for themselves.

    The betrayal of their own core supporters isn’t a problem for the Shinners at the polls, so why should it be a problem at all if a few of yesterday’s muppets get very low-key uppity about it? It can only be that the British security establishment is worried about the shepherds leaving some straying sheep behind or because one of those Army Council stooges knows a lot of stuff – such as where all the millions that the organisation made from organised crime is invested – that causes the Gerry and Martin anxiety.

    At any rate, this threat to bring down Stormont makes it look like the Shinner shepherds are autonomous and that the security establishment didn’t lead them there. As Thatcher put it, “The minority must be led to support or at least acquiesce in the constitutional framework of the state in which they live.” While that constitutional support is now delivered, it’s a matter of how important the internal administration of British rule is to the ongoing security of it.

    It is self-evident that you cannot tell the muppets to advance their agenda by political means if you omit the political means. Stormont is there to make the muppets feel powerful, relevant and to make them feel that they can make dynamic progress. Obviously, that last part depends on the unionist parties.

    The shepherds know that their paymasters want them to be, so even if Stormont goes down, it’s a very long game and it will always be the intent to put it back up again. Joint Stewardship is a second best option, and neither government has the interest in it. At any rate, it was held that if the state could keep the wheels turning for 15 years or so then the core muppets would be too old to revert to type. True, of course, and it is now 15 years but as the British security establishment would know, the old lags can still direct others if not act directly.

  • alfieburrows

    all i can say is Jesus Christ ! at the stae of the above post

  • alfieburrows



    Unionists need to realise that when they walk away or in this case push others away by their refusal to grow up and accept the reality of the situation (one only has to look at DUP led councils to see how far they are away from the spirit of sharing power) they inevitably return and they inevitably have less brokerage. When direct rule returns it will be with a massive green tinge, both the labour and conservatives want a settlement and if the locals cant do it then the two govts will, and it will be difficult to convince nationalists and republicans that a reformed assembly offers a better deal for them than the irish/british direct rule.

  • ab

    I have to agree with you there, direct rule may even offer nationalists more than a unionist blocking assembly, if not more then at least the status quo, which is fine and dandy for nationalists as we have in actual truth made all the gains, when unionists spout that they have made gains it is simply untrue, nationalists have never had it better, its like the last furlong in a two horse race, unionism has always led from the off and nationalism is gaining, im a bettin man so i know which horse id be tipping…

  • USA

    Peter Baker, a one trick pony.

  • Greenflag

    master mcgrath,

    ‘one only has to look at DUP led councils to see how far they are away from the spirit of sharing power’

    No surprise there . Never forget that the ‘Unionist’ God is the angry God of the Old Testament . You are either saved or damned and if you happen to be a Fenian then as one of the Lord’s pre anointed ‘damneds’ why would the self chosen people share anything with you anyway ?

    Roll on DR and then repartition and be done with the power sharing charade.

  • shanmaghery

    As per nationlist opinion around mid-Ulster Marty and co were under-performing, big time, letting the Dups walk all over us.
    It has got to the stage where we are thinking about running a strong nationlist canditate against Marty and Gildernew to split the vote and dump the two of them.
    If Marty can stand up for nationlists and show some strength and pull the plug, he might just about redeem himself and save his and Michelle’s bacon.
    Dup will never share power,Direct rule is as good as this as long as we have strong Dublin influence.

  • Sean

    Unionists have been losing face with the world, virtually since the inception of the failed state of nIreland. The 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s has seen the speed increase like a runaway train on a very steep grade. Now it appears that they are even starting to lose support in their own communities. Little Petey should just bite the bullet and do the deal and maybe next election he can campaign as the lion instead of as the sacrificial goat he is becoming.

    A goat of his own making mind you

  • danielmoran

    AB msg 11. I agree with you entirely on that. Only unionist care whether there’s a set up at stormont or not. Nationalists would probably have preferred in ’07 that SF hold the votes and not go in with DUP above all other unnionist parties. The unionists know well that their demographic is on the wane, receding back into antrim, north down and north armagh, while the nationalist voters could come to level pegging by the time of the centenary of partition. The siege mentality is alive and kicking in the unionist parties as seen by their open squabbling over the two westminster seats, lost probably forever to them.

  • Mark McGregor

    I’d suggest that there is no crisis in SF, its membership or support base unless the leadership decides to create one. While a few may dissent, or grumble – like Chris Donnelly has demonstrated here or in the MSM – experience shows there is no underlying current of revolt that needs appeased by pushing the destruct button no matter how big the issue, u-turn, lie or denial.

    SF can manage anything they want within the party. Any decision to up the ante is purely leadership strategising and nothing to do with them meeting or responding to concerns from below.

    The process could continue indefinitely without devolution of P&J, SF would experience next to no problems internally or from the electorate.

    This seems more about the leadership recognising their failure and impotency and attempting to get a trump card instead of dealing with the bad political card they dealt themselves.

  • Dave

    Mark, my view is that the core supporters are just thick and therefore easily manipulated. Your view is that they are thick and nihilistic, having no principles, no beliefs, and caring about absolutely nothing except what’s in it for them. I’m not even that cynical about them!

    In regard to Stormont, Orange & Green rule was sold to them as the replacement for Orange rule that validated the murder gang’s efforts (never mind that Orange rule ended in 1972). This, they told them, is what Bobby Sands starved himself to death for. Now that might be risible crap but it shows that there was a need for said risible crap since the muppets only do what they’re told if they think there is a reason for it.

    Likewise, the spin that was put on the endorsement of the police force was put on it because a spin was needed. Putting manners on them and all that.

  • Sean


    Like all narcasists you think every one who disagrees with you is thick.

  • anonymous

    Greenflag what’s all this about repartition?

    It simply isn’t going to happen. The next step is a united Ireland. Get over it.

    Are the people of West Belfast going to allow a repartition? Or any self respecting nationalist?

    Repartition – don’t make me laugh!!


    The only party pushing the forward button is sinn fein. Most people dont want to go backwards like the gregorys and jims of this world. The sooner peter wakes up and shoos the cave men (gregory david willy jim NIGEL) the better for us all but I think peter might RUN to florida with IRIS.

  • Dave

    Sean, I’m open to persuasion that folks who spent 25 years murdering people before they realised the utter futility of their murder campaign aren’t thick. But you have to admit that taking 25 years to grasp what was apparent 25 years ago to anyone with an IQ over 90 would point to some pretty slow learners.

  • TerrysChocolateOrangeman

    Dave, Irish republicans have a permanent place governing [i]Northern ‘just another normal part of the UK’ Ireland[/i], for as long as it endures. They didn’t 25 years ago. I doubt they will advance many pro-union policies in their time in office.

    ‘Slow learners’ is quite an ironic statement, given your apparant obliviousness to as starkly basic a fact as this.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I doubt they will advance many pro-union policies in their time in office.

    What kind of pro-union policies have unionists advanced during their time in office since 1921 ? I mean, what is a “pro-union policy” when you turn it into legislation, when the union already exists ?

    If I wanted to strengthen the union, it seems to me that the best way is to ensure that nationalist voters don’t feel threatened by it, and powersharing is the best way to do that. Of course, powersharing seems like a very bad idea if your fundamental beliefs are more to do with keeping the taigs offside than they are to do with maintaining the union.

  • JD

    The crisis for Sinn Fein is not only that they over sold policing, but they had motivated their base with a load of blather about unity by 2016.

    As the economic crisis and collapse in Fianna Fail support in the south has shown that the population there is indifferent to Sinn Fein, its all Ireland agenda and what goes on in the North (with the exception of lower VAT, Sainsbury’s in Newry and the Asda in Enniskillen etc..).

    McCann is right to point out the role of ideology in providing the movement with backbone during the troubles. Having abandoned that ideological framework they are now lost trying to find a role different from merely being the DUP’s partner in Stormont.

    After their failed war they 1) abandoned armed struggle, then 2) the infrastructure of PIRA and the logical next step 3) is to abandon the Sinn Fein party it histroical baggage and the consequent ideological sumersaults that are untenable.

    Down South their last TD in Dublin Aengus O’Snodaigh will most likely lose his seat at the next election and although this is likely to be compensated by a gain or two in Donegal, Sinn Fein is reduced totally to the status of “a Northern party” confined to the border counties. Although a joke – Gerry McHugh’s decision to join Fianna Fail shows that moving the “all Ireland agenda” forward might mean finding a large Southern based party to join rather than trying to impose a Northern based party on the disinterested South.

    The infiltration of “Nordies” into southern politics, might well involve the infiltration of the main southern parties rather than trying to electorally beat them in the Republic. It also has the advantage of leaving behind the Provo baggage and being treated as merely an all Ireland political party. For many in Sinn Fein this is an odious bargin and politics might well not be for them – that said the Provos started out as a home for people who thought politics was for wimps and traitors

  • Sean

    Dave of the monster intelect and verbosity

    As per your last post you only object to the violence since 1984 so you feel what ever happened before then was justified, interesting.

    Every one comes on here and complains about the campaigns of nationalist violence while completely ignoring that it was a RESPONSE to continued unionist terrorism and violence. PIRA did not introduce the gun to nIreland politics they merely picked it up and fired back.

    I would never say everything they did was right or justified but you have to be willfully in denial if you think nIreland would have advanced as far as this imperfect agreement with out the PIRA.

    Civil rights movements like in the southern US only succeeded because of the support of the federal government and the english could have cared less as long as the irish stayed home quietly killing each other. It was tv that killed unionist hedgemony because their excesses and abuses were shown to the world and embarassed the english into trying to find a solution

    Unfortunately it was republican violence that brought the attention of tv

  • Coll Ciotach

    Sinn Fein MUST collapse this charade. Who really wants this expensive super council?. Not nationalism, we want only one assembly to rule and that is the Dail. The rest are only impositions we have to thole. We have no loyalty to any state set up by foreigners to placate a childish minority who believe that their allegience to an outdated concept and hierarchy means they can hold the rest of us to ransom.

    Pull it down, we should not be accepting anything less than full equality. That means more than flags and emblems. It means true shared space. All operations of the Irish state should be in operation here. Let us register our cars, businesses and so on with the republics systems if we want, and the unionists can use the British ones if they wish. Let us have An Post operating here alongside the Post Office, let us have the right to justice in Irish Courts. If we cannot have this then we are simply operating a British State. Bring it down. They cannot rule without our consent. Remember that principle?

  • JD

    “They cannot rule without our consent. Remember that principle? ”

    And a United Ireland cannot be built without their consent…

    It works both ways

  • Quagmire

    “And a United Ireland cannot be built without their consent…

    It works both ways”
    Posted by JD on Dec 12, 2009 @ 06:54 PM

    Not necessarily true. At the moment we would need some 7% of unionism to come on board for a UI. In the future however, if current demographic trends continue, all that will be needed is simply for every nationalist to vote nationalist which will be more than enough to satisfy the 50+1 criteria. Even if 100% of unionists voted against it, their numbers would still fall short of 50%. The threshold that ties us to the union cannot be different from that which seeks to end that tie. In this sense the unionist veto has been removed. I know that catholic dosen’t necessarily = nationalist and protestant = unioinst, however I believe that it is safe to say that most catholics vote for nationalist parties and most protestants vote for unionist parties. Until there is an actual border poll we will never know of course, but until then the support for the respective parties gives us our best current estimate. Many commentators believe that there will be an equalisation of the protestant/catholic ratio within the next 10 years. When catholic numbers reach 50% there will be an air of expectancy or inevitability about a UI.

  • bigchiefally

    Quagmire – Good luck to the southern leader who “welcomes” a Northern Ireland into a United Ireland with 49.9% of the people against such a move.

    It may be the morally and politically correct thing to do if we reach a 50.1% majority in favour of it, but would you want to be living here when it goes ahead with such a slim majority?

    I wouldnt, and not for any political issue with it. I think it would simply be carnage.

    I dont think this 50.1% figure is coming round quite as soon as you might suggest though. Two main reasons. A few years ago I read the difference in birth rates has decreased a lot as catholics become richer, and well, less catholic. I assume this is still the case, though maybe it is not. Also I think a lot more catholics vote for the union than protestants for a UI. I think a poll in the Belfast Telegraph a couple of years or so ago pretty much proved that. From personal experience it makes sense too. In my entire life I have met 1 protestant nationalist, and if it actually came down to a vote I think he would probably, for the sake of the free medical care here, vote to stay in the union. I know plenty of catholics who, whilst not royalist or union flag waving types, would probably vote to stay in the union, for economic or health reasons.

    Personally I think nationalism missed a trick – if they had been publicizing the amount you get on the southern dole in the boom years we would have seen vast swathes of orange heartlands turning green damn quickly 🙂

  • kensei


    Quagmire – Good luck to the southern leader who “welcomes” a Northern Ireland into a United Ireland with 49.9% of the people against such a move

    Good luck to managing the clusterfuck that would result from denying democracy again.

    I doubt that a United can be achieved on pure Catholic demographics though. Intertia is the world’s most powerful force, and it favours Unionism.

  • regimental 1912

    I read with interest some amusing statements,was it not the nationalist community that begged the government to send the troops in in 1969 after their failed attempt at murdering the protestant community.It was not long until they started murdering their saviours and putting glass etc into tea and coffee.I will admit that the nationalist community did get a raw deal in the past but when they had the opportunity to move forwardthey were denied by PIRA with the threat of death.Do we forget or wish to airbrush the fact that the provisionals murdered more innocent catholics than all the other forces put together.What has been achieved after 40 years of murder that could not have been achieved earlier if allowed,sure the army council even murdered the hunger strikers by denying them a deal that would have saved them,no sign of gerry and martin putting their leves on the line.I take it then that it acceptable for the PUL community to take up arms and explosives if a united ireland is mooted to put their case forwardand then after 40 more years of murder and mayhem will be invited to join the government.