Governments have between the 4th and the 8th of January to save the entire political process…

Many Northern Ireland Assembly members still sucking the bones of the turkey have no idea that within less than two weeks their careers as politicians may be finished. When Monday dawns the British and Irish governments have just fours days to shore up the entire political process. A Sinn Fein team has been beavering in the background preparing a dossier. That paper is essentially an evaluation of the merits of continuing in an administration with the Democratic Unionist Party.

The paper has not yet been completed. Sinn Fein has concluded a date for the devolution of policing and justice may be just a figment of their imagination. That however is not the heart of Sinn Fein’s preoccupation. That party has concluded the DUP’s real target is power-sharing with Republicans in the absence of absolute power and Unionist domination. At point of writing this article nothing said by the DUP is offering Martin Mc Guinness comfort with a Sinn Fein ard-chomhairle coming up on January 9.

The British and Irish governments are eventually realising that they are staring into the abyss. They have between the 4th and the 8th of January to save the entire political process. Will the cavalry have to come over the hill yet again to try to deal with the natives?

Peter Robinson currently finds himself in something of a lonely place and no right thinking person, regardless of one’s station in life, would want to have to deal with such difficulties. There is no appetite in the community for the collapse of the Assembly and its institutions despite the many deficits in the system.

Perhaps at this difficult time for Peter Robinson he might find refuge in strange quarters. Why does he not test the bonafides of Martin Mc Guinness? Why not lift the phone to him? McGuinness has done enough in ’09 to demonstrate his leadership and compassionate credentials to prove himself yet again, if Peter needs a friend. He must know he is pushing at an open door.

At the same time that the Robinsons were feeling embattled over Christmas, journalistic colleague Gareth Gordon of the BBC was burying his dear mother who lost her life in tragic circumstances in a house fire.

The presence of Sylvia Hermon, Jim Wells and especially Martin Mc Guinness at the Annalong funeral service was a great source of comfort for Gordon and his family. Those politicians were not there to be seen or in the pursuit of votes.

They were there out of respect for another human being who was grieving and who was in trouble. They offered hope to the Gordons in their hour of need. That is what all elected representatives should do. The Robinsons are in a dark place.

Some people, even their political enemies want to help. They should be gracious and respond to that gesture for the greater good. People need hope at the start of 2010 – not shattered dreams and not longer dole queues.

,

  • Paul

    Sinn fein are a bunch of little cry babies.There is no date required for the devoltion for Pand J sinn fein plucked a date out of the air a deadline by them of xmas 009.That is a date made up by them and them alone then they.Sinn fein say if you dont do what we say.thats threats and bullying by the way we Sinn fein will wreck the assembly.as far a i am concerned go and wreck it then and walk away like a bunch of little cry babies.EVERYONE CAN SEE WHOS CAUSING ALL THE PROBLEMS with threats etc so if they walk away the people will see who to blame will be SINN FEIN THEM AND THEM SINN FEIN.politics is for grown ups sinn fein havnt grown up yet politics is about reaching agreement not threatening and bullying people. how can anybody talk and try to sort things out with such babies ie Sinn fein when they make threats etc its just not on

  • It seems that the weakened electoral position of the DUP is preventing them from sealing the deal – we can now look forward to Assembly and Westminster elections within the next 6 months and it is likely that with 3 similarly sized Unionist parties emerging that we will be looking forward to Direct Rule with a Unionist friendly Tory government – and perhaps a very Unionist friendly government if a hung parliament emerges.

  • Paul

    And if sinn fein think by wrecking the assembly all the mounting pressure on Gerry Adams will go away they sinn fein have another thing coming.It seems sinn fein are very good at wrecking things there education minster has done an excellent job of more or less wrecking and causing havoc with education.Sinn feins antics well if you dont do as we say by xmas 2009 we will wreck the assembly.The fact is when it comes to real politics and leadership sinn fein goes missing the sooner we have the likess of fianna fail teaming up with the SDLP to offer a sensible way forward for nationalists and who can work with unionists the better it will be for all of us and put sinn fein where they belong into opposition.That day cant come soon enough

  • Comrade Stalin

    MU,

    The Tory government which comes into power is going to be wielding the knife. I doubt unionists will find themselves in a warm place.

    As with Sunningdale, unionism will end up regretting that it did not make the minor concessions that are required to keep things on an even keel. They’re about to bring the whole thing down – over a deal that guarantees that SF will not have the justice ministry at any time in the foreseeable future.

  • Eamonn,

    The sad obvious truth is there appears to be no one who is able to lead with Viable Imagination ….. for that is what is missing for a New Beginning, for the past is gone and bears no real relationship with the future other than as a reminder of things to forget.

    You could stir things up a bit though and start something absolutely fabulous and most definitely different and refreshing and entertaining/edutaining, and get them thinking about what is possible when one is not hindered by ignorance or arrogance, by enquiring of the First and Deputy First Minister’s Offices about an email entitled “Holywood vs Hollywood ….. QuITe Titanic Quarter Style with NIRobotIQs and NEUKlearer HyperRadioProActivity”….Sent: Friday, 24 April, 2009 10:48:22 …. which promised all of the above, and all for the want of a simple chat, to explain that which they might not have understood, for it was a cutting edge IT Program which is quite Revolutionary, and which started ……
    [quote]Good Morning, Gentleman,

    I would refer you to this page …… http://amanfrommars.baywords.com/2009/04/24/090424/ ……. just in case you are asked to provide further information. And should you need any further Intelligence on such Matters as C42 Quantum Control Systems shares, and which will be, you can be assured, most probably definitely Presented to you for Public Funding Support and/or Bank Guarantee, then IT is but a simple request and therefore only a matter of hours away.

    And this is such a Presentation. [/quote]

    Irregular and unconventional it is, but it is just what is needed to change everyone’s fortunes. I Kid U Not, ….. for of course, a bluff is easily called but whenever you have a royal flush, a bluff is a pleasure to present.

    And you would not believe how much further on the Program has Progressed since last year.

  • Pete Baker

    “A Sinn Fein team has been beavering in the background preparing a dossier.”

    A “dossier”? Compiled by the Sinn Féin mushrooms?

    Well, that’s all the analysis I need to see!

    Oh wait, “The paper has not yet been completed.”

    Indeed. Have they grown wary of painting themselves into a corner?

    “Sinn Fein has concluded a date for the devolution of policing and justice may be just a figment of their imagination.”

    No shit, sherlock.

    They shouldn’t have promised something they hadn’t got agreement on and weren’t prepared to work towards. McGuinness isn’t the only SF representative who’s actions can be held up as an example of the party’s bona fides – Conor Murphy being a case in point.

    Not to mention Dear Leader himself.

    “That [a date for the devolution of policing and justice] however is not the heart of Sinn Fein’s preoccupation.”

    Ha! If you really believe that, Eamonn, there’s a little bridge that I’ve been asked to sell on behalf to the City of London Corporation.. ;o)

  • Blair

    Wouldn’t this be a very foolish thing for the Sinners to do?

    If they collapse Stormont then they will be looking forward to direct rule by a Tory Government, which may well have Lord Trimble in its Cabinet, and may be dependent on unionist votes in Westminster.

    If they force an election then their electorate will be wrestling with the Uncle Gerry situation.

    There must be something to it though if Eamon says so. Perhaps they think they can split unionism. A dangerous game to be playing at this stage. Especially over P&J which is going to happen anyway.

  • Paul

    #

    It seems that the weakened electoral position of the DUP is preventing them from sealing the deal – we can now look forward to Assembly and Westminster elections within the next 6 months and it is likely that with 3 similarly sized Unionist parties emerging that we will be looking forward to Direct Rule with a Unionist friendly Tory government – and perhaps a very Unionist friendly government if a hung parliament emerges.
    Posted by Moderate Unionist on Jan 01, 2010 @ 05:37 PM

    I am no fan of the DUP at all and i disagree with your post above it has nothing to do with what you say.The full time resereve is being scrapped less police officers on the beat and a time of high terrorists activity.We have all seen Irish republican IRA dissedent terrorists setting up illegal road blocks armed with AK47s and rocker lauchers etc armed up to the teeth in border villages and the police had to withdraw because they hadnt either the man power or resourses to deal with the incident.How on earth can anyone have confidence to see Pand J devolved when there isnt enough police officers to deal with crime these dissident IRA terrorists running around causing the havoc like they are doing.I do not hear anyone talking about p and J. people are worried about there jobs transport etc.where the next wage packet is coming from the credit crunch etc.If the sinners made a deal with the governements thats the sinners fault no body else has agreed anything the sinners have over sold it to there voters etc thats now very clear to see and thats there problem no body elses.Now the sinners are trying to hold the people of NI to ransom.That can not be allowed and if they try to walk away let them.i would urge the other parties to re convene the assembly and let the sinners go into opposition.Then we can get an education minster who can do the job the sinners education minster should of being doing.

  • Paul,

    whilst I would like to see SF in opposition just as you would the political realities of Northern Ireland politics are that the British government (and the Irish government) want a deal between SF and the DUP and in the absence of the DUP being able to hold their nose and make that deal (becuase of the electroal threat of the TUV) the best that Unionists can hope for is a Unionist friendly Westminster government and hopefully minimal interference from the Irish government.

  • Paul

    This thread is a classic and the sinners will use this line that you will see from now spinning all over the place in there prepartion for there pathatic excuse in wrecking the assembly and trying to deflect attention away any way they can from there leader Gerry Adams.They Sinn fein and Gerry Adams have another thing coming if they think they can get away with it because they wont.The sinners are being exposed and everybody can see it and its quite pathatic

  • joeCanuck

    It seems that the education system is producing a fair number of illiterates.

  • Driftwood

    If they collapse Stormont then they will be looking forward to direct rule by a Tory Government,

    Please, please please…

    And yes Comrade, that Tory knife will be necessary, especially in NI. They can start with Stormont.

  • Paul

    (becuase of the electroal threat of the TUV)

    The TUV are not an electoral threat at all you are over hyping allister and his motley crew of no hope dinsaurs.TUV NI version of http://www.omrlp.co.uk
    who have no alternative no policies and are a one issue pressure group take a look at allisters TUV website he still has his euro election speech on there its like watching an very very anry traffic warden shouting and ranting waving his arms about its pathatic..they have not got a single person who has being elected all there councillors if i am right defected from the DUP.Allister lost his Euro seat they have contested two elections and have lost both and are contesting a third election in a council by election which they will also lose.thats a hat trick of losing elections LMAO where the Dinasaurs no hopers TUV will be beaten for the third time in a row in a.Allister vote in the euro has being taken out of context a very large slice of that vote was a big personal vote.Ian paisley used to get massive personal votes in euro polls only for it to swing back to the UUP in general elections.I know a lot of people in north antrim who voted for allister in the euros who have said they will vote for other pro union parties at the gen election and have being really turned off by allisters ranting and raving with nothng to offer them no future etc.

  • Paul

    [play the ball – edited moderator]

  • Paul

    Back to the thread topic I think you will see as I have said before that sinn fein will prepare the ground with a list of excuses ready for wrecking the assembly.Then spinning all over the place trying to justifie why they sinn fein wrecked it ie the assembly.People have and will see straight through them ie sinn fein.

  • Paul

    The most disgracful thing about Sinn fein wrecking the assembly they sinn fein who have 27 MLAs what right do they with 27 MLAs have the right to in effect put the other 80 other MLAs out of work.??Its just not on that a minority party sinn fein in the assembly can destroy the majority(Assembly)If they sinn fein try and wreck it the assembly in the coming days.They sinn fein should be told ok go into opposition and the other 80 MLAs can get on with making the assembly work all working together thats the best way to deal with the sinners can not be allowed to threatened bully and then go on to destroy the assembly.

  • Turgon

    Eamon,
    I do not want to be difficult but I find that post difficult to comprehend: even the English is problematic.

    What does this sentence mean: “That party has concluded the DUP’s real target is power-sharing with Republicans in the absence of absolute power and Unionist domination.”

    Sinn Fein could indeed collapse the executive. What would that gain them? They might emerge from the election the largest party but it would almost certainly be a pyrrhic victory. It would be an election leading to negotiations and I have argued on a number of occasions that in negotiations there is a high chance of any agreement being more unionist friendly than the current one. Remember that SF’s ability to gain concessions from shroud waving about a return to violence, the decommissioning of weapons and support for the police are all vastly less potent than they were even in 2007.

    If an agreement cannot be achieved then it is Direct Rule. That may involve some Dublin involvement but it will not involve SF involvement in the remotely forseeable future and the actual level of “joint” rule will be very limited. He who pays the piper calls the tune and strapped for money as the British exchequer may be it is positively overflowing as compared to the Irish.

    You also state that SF may collapse the whole thing but say that the DUP are not helping SF with their coming ard-chomhairle. Why would they?

    Peter Robinson’s position will actually be made worse if he gives in on P&J as such why should he help McGuinness and hurt himself?

    It may be that Robinson will loose if he helps McGuinness and McGuinness needs Robinson or he will loose. That then looks very like a mutually assured and mutually inevitable destruction.

    Personally I doubt McGuinness needs to get P&J and Robinson can hold his nerve: whether or not he will is unclear.

    I must admit to being a little taken aback by your last paragraph: it is not even remotely objective. Why should unionists help republicans? Is helping devolve P&J to the executive for the greater good? Will everyone’s dreams be shattered if Stormont falls: I think few would actually care – apart from those who are employed in the big white house on the hill. As to lengthening dole queues: are you as a serious political reporter of many years standing really suggesting that Stormont is the essential ingredient in a return of prosperity and full employment.

    I am always very reticent to overly criticise a serious journalist (amateur blogger as I am) but have you been too much at the wine last night?

  • percy

    pete,( slugger admin)
    you can harldy complain re trolls when your posts bring them out en force.
    dya recall paisley’s words exciting loyalist killers ?

  • Paul

    I am always very reticent to overly criticise a serious journalist (amateur blogger as I am) but have you been too much at the wine last night?
    Posted by Turgon on Jan 01, 2010 @ 07:53 PM

    Turgon you are not a TUV supporter by any chance are you.??? because the style and tone of your post suggests to me you are TUV.Just like Sinn fein the TUV dinasaur no hopers want to wreck the assembly not my words Jim allisters and the TUV dinasaurs words who have no policies no alternatives and would see NI moving backwards to a return to the bad old days thats where the TUV would lead us the TUV would leave us with no future no jobs no future for our children quite frankly a vote for the TUV is a vote to make the sinners the largest NI party god forbid it who on earth in there right minds whats that.???

  • Paul

    dya recall paisley’s words
    Posted by percy on Jan 01, 2010 @ 07:59 PM

    Percy do you think sinn fein will wreck and destroy the assembly like they have threatened too.??

  • joeCanuck

    20 comments on this thread and 10 are from one person. Is he talking to himself? Trying to convince himself that only he possesses the truth.
    Bah!

  • Turgon

    Paul,
    Yes I am actually the resident TUV blogger as most know. I am in the middle of a rather anarchic family party so rather than answer you in detail, I will leave you with a few of my previous thoughts on alternatives. Here is one.

  • Paul

    Turgon

    Thank you for your reply

  • Alias

    Eamonn Mallie should set that sentimental exhortation to music with a representative cross-section of the community – not excluding the harassed Roma, Poles and Anna Lo – and the mandatory kiddies’ backing choir to sing-along with him, and he’d have a hit single for Christmas. Oh wait… he just missed the market.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Turgon’s analysis is about right. It’s not in SF’s interests to collapse the executive, which is the real conundrum for them. They haven’t got the means to threaten people anymore. The reason for this, of course, is because unionism in the form of the DUP decided to stand up to them.

    Turgon:

    Peter Robinson’s position will actually be made worse if he gives in on P&J as such why should he help McGuinness and hurt himself?

    This is the fallacy, Turgon. Sinn Fein won’t get their grubby mitts anywhere near the justice ministry under the deal currently proposed. They are already in control of the police via the Police Board; that won’t change if the executive collapses. Indeed the Police Board’s role may be strengthened in the absence of devolution as the parties who sit on that board request more powers to shape the direction of policing itself.

    blair:

    If they collapse Stormont then they will be looking forward to direct rule by a Tory Government, which may well have Lord Trimble in its Cabinet, and may be dependent on unionist votes in Westminster.

    Why do people keep spreading this nonsense about Trimble being in a Tory cabinet ? Let’s be real – he won’t. This is a man who presided over the electoral destruction of his own party. He hasn’t got any visions, or ideas, friends, or allies. Why would you put him in the cabinet ? What’s he got to bring to the table ?

    Driftwood:

    And yes Comrade, that Tory knife will be necessary, especially in NI. They can start with Stormont.

    Powersharing was agreed in the Good Friday Agreement/St Andrews Agreement and it is anglo-Irish policy. I’ve seen no indication that the Tories intend to make any substantial changes to it. Sorry to disappoint you.

  • Paul

    Powersharing was agreed in the Good Friday Agreement/St Andrews Agreement and it is anglo-Irish policy. I’ve seen no indication that the Tories intend to make any substantial changes to it. Sorry to disappoint you.
    Posted by Comrade Stalin on Jan 01, 2010 @ 08:40 PM

    Excellent post as was the whole post.

  • Blair

    Comrade,

    “Appearing alongside his latest recruit in Westminster, the Tory leader said: “I am sure he is going to bring a great amount to our party, not just on the subject of Northern Ireland but more broadly on security, terrorism and the constitution and develop the Conservative party for the future.”

    “It’s not every day you can welcome a Nobel prize winner to your party,” he said.

    Mr Cameron hinted that there would be a role for Lord Trimble in the Tory leadership ranks.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2007/apr/17/northernireland.devolution

  • abc123

    In 2002, Adams said that Unionists had signed up to a “wreckers’ charter” and that the government must not allow them to halt the political process.

    In 2009, SF now appears to be the ones signed up to a “wreckers’ charter” and the government must not allow them to halt the political process.

    If SF leave the Executive, then it should continue – but as a voluntary coalition. The current setup is not working anyway e.g. the incompetent SF Education Minister who can’t be sacked. So SF might actually do everyone a favour by walking out of Government.

  • abc123

    Meant to add …

    In 2010, a voluntary coalition makes sense for anyone interested in true democracy. But SF don’t appear to have reached that stage yet?

  • Mick Fealty

    Guest,

    I am happy to have tips sent to me privately, but you can’t use this blog to make unfounded accusations against individuals.

  • Paul

    In 2009, SF now appears to be the ones signed up to a “wreckers’ charter” and the government must not allow them to halt the political process.

    I totally agree

  • Alias

    The Shinners are just trying to create/reinforce the bogus impression among their hard-line (but duped) supporters that they can act independently of their handlers in the security services in regard to assisting in the administration to British rule. They can’t. And the security policy of the British state is to have them in Stormont assisting in the administration to British rule so that those who oppose British rule can be isolated within the community that they purport to represent.

    The security services require that the Shinners bring as many of their hard-line supporters with them as possible so that that those who are violently opposed to British rule do not increase in numbers by defection, and that involves this charade of pretending that the leadership is acting independently of state control and is not promoting a British agenda.

    It’s a long game, so they can exit Stormont if that is required in the short term, but they will be required by their handlers to return to assisting in the administration to British rule since that ‘shared future’ is vital to the successful maintenance of British sovereignty over the state.

    It’s a shame that British intelligence didn’t infiltrate pro-state political parties as that would have meant that they could have directed the unionists as they directed the nationalists, and that would have meant that the unionists would not have put tactical demands aimed at securing selfish concessions ahead of considerations involving the successful integration into the British state of those who formerly opposed British rule.

  • eranu

    as somone who is now baed in the middle east. its really strange to see this bickering between christian based tribes. what exactly have the disputes got to do with achieving something? what is each side trying to achieve? is it just trying to stop the other team? it really does seem to be a world within a world if this site to be taken as what is important in Northern Irish peoples minds. very strange…
    do people in NI not realise that nothing is going to change or come to an end because of what they think? they are actually living in some kind of make believe world. try watching BBC World or CNN News !!!!

  • Only Asking

    Nice thoughts Eamonn, and nice of the politicians to turn out for the funeral of someone who died in very tragic circumstances, but at the end of the day this thing is still about votes. If SF are preparing a paper on the benefits of being in power with the DUP then it looks like crisis over. They’ll get their base support if Robinson can’t or won’t move, I seriously doubt anyone is going to collapse this thing.

  • Paul

    They’ll get their base support if Robinson can’t or won’t move, I seriously doubt anyone is going to collapse this thing.
    Posted by Only Asking on Jan 01, 2010 @ 10:12 PM

    Sinn fein have being making threats for weeks about wrecking the assembly as we all know as you well know as well.

  • Was it not sinn fein/ira themselves that said that one party should not be able to bring about the suspension of the assembly?
    Have they recently changed their minds on this, or is it their naked sectarianism showing through? (Ie; prods shouldn’t be allowed to bring down Stormont, fenians should.)

  • Paul

    #

    Was it not sinn fein themselves that said that one party should not be able to bring about the suspension of the assembly?

    Posted by Intelligence Insider on Jan 01, 2010 @ 11:38 PM

    Yes it was you are quite correct they were spinning that line when David trimble and the UUP suspended the assembly because of the republican movements in action on the arms handover and there was suspension law was passed through at westminster..Now the sinners who must think the general public are all fools now threatened to wreck the assembly themselves.A minority of 27 MLAs having the authority to wreck the assembly and dictate to the other 80 plus assmbly members.How very grown up sinn fein are they are a bunch of little cry babies so they spit there dummy out stamp there feet and wreck everything for everyone else and the governments and all the other political parties must not allow sinn fein to wreck the assembly and dictate to the majority who do these(sinn fein) people think they are.?

  • Driftwood

    Comrade Stalin
    Northern Ireland remains under British jurisdiction until sometime in the next century people here agree otherwise.
    So we will have a Conservative government.

    The natural way forward is full integration. Turn NI into a county like Shropshire.

    What’s the problem with that? Anyone who doesn’t like it can leave. We are no different than Shropshire. Is that too difficult for you to understand?

    And much cheaper to administrate.
    I’m lost as to why people cannot understand this simple and cheap solution.

  • Brian MacAodh

    Shropshire doesn’t have two different tribes and a history of oppression and violence

  • iluvni

    mope alert

  • Fair Deal

    “Why does he not test the bonafides of Martin Mc Guinness? Why not lift the phone to him? McGuinness has done enough in ‘09 to demonstrate his leadership and compassionate credentials to prove himself yet again, if Peter needs a friend.”

    Because the lesson the DUP has learned in OFMDFM is Marty can’t deliver when he makes a promise- GA over-rules and MM lives with it.

  • RepublicanStones

    Anyone who doesn’t like it can leave

    I doubt you’d be content to hear that put forward as an argument for a UI Drift.

  • Paul McMahon

    “We are no different than Shropshire”

    Are you insane or just drunk Driftwood?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Blair,

    Mr Cameron hinted that there would be a role for Lord Trimble in the Tory leadership ranks.”

    So why isn’t Trimble there now, in an advisory role (in the way that eg. Ian Parsley is) ?

    Driftwood:

    Northern Ireland remains under British jurisdiction until sometime in the next century people here agree otherwise.
    So we will have a Conservative government.

    I accept that not because I like it, but because I can deal with reality. You, on the other hand, appear to have some difficulty with the real world. Let’s take a closer look :

    The natural way forward is full integration. Turn NI into a county like Shropshire.

    No, it isn’t. People in NI have consistently voted for pro-devolution parties for the past 15 years or so. Unionism has been consistently pro-devolution for at least a century. Integrationist unionism has never gotten off the ground. The last person who put integrationism at the heart of his campaign was Robert McCartney. He’ll not be missed.

    What’s the problem with that?

    It’s bollocks, that’s what the problem is.

    Anyone who doesn’t like it can leave.

    Why would I leave ? I like it here. I expect that my vote in the elections should count for something. That’s what democracy is. What part of that do you have trouble with ?

    We are no different than Shropshire. Is that too difficult for you to understand?

    Shropshire isn’t mentioned in any of the international agreements, or the 1998 referenda. It doesn’t elect any MPs or assembly members who are pro-devolution. NI does. So why do you keep repeating this lie ?

    And much cheaper to administrate.

    A dictatorship would be cheaper again. Should economics overrule democracy ?

    Not surprising really, because imposing a dictatorship, overruling the wishes of those in NI seems to be what you are about.

    I’m lost as to why people cannot understand this simple and cheap solution.

    Because not everything is about money.

  • Driftwood

    I expect that my vote in the elections should count for something.

    It does and will. in the only election that matters. To the national parliament at Westminster. From where we are governed.

    Robert McCartney was the best politician here since Faulkner. The reason so few people bother to vote here is because of parochial tribal politics. If NI is simply treated as an English county then more people would vote. I don’t buy the two tribes argument. Muslims in Bradford are not arguing for a separate status, neither should we. No problem with closer co-operation with the Irish Republic, an advisory role is fine.
    Problem resolved?

  • Driftwood,

    Full integration would ideally be the choice for true unionists, but the British govenrment swapped this option for the cessation of Republican violence in the GFA and Unionists should now attempt to maximise their influence by embracing political reality. I think the DUP should seal the deal with SF over the devolution of police and justice but failing that we can hopefully rely on the incoming Tory government to provide a prolonged period of direct rule stability with no further concessions to Irish Nationalism.

  • Driftwood

    MU
    Yes, though it will not matter a jot to peoples lives here if such powers are devolved. NI is 2% of the UK population. It is absurd that we have a 108 member assembly. And all those ministers and departments etc. If people want to call themselves Jedi Knights, Irish Republicans or Daleks then fine. But we all live in the United Kingdom. Fact. Now why do we just get on with our lives with that fact. Not a difficult concept to grasp.
    There are going to be public spending cuts. Hospitals or ridiculous levels of public administration- which?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Driftwood:

    It does and will. in the only election that matters. To the national parliament at Westminster. From where we are governed.

    Fortunately, you don’t get to decide which elections matter and which ones don’t. Like I said, the GFA, StAA, negotiations, referenda and all the rest are tied up in international agreements. The Tories will not be able to walk into power and undo them. Thankfully.

    Robert McCartney was the best politician here since Faulkner.

    Yes, unfortunately his principles didn’t amount to much when he failed to act on his promise to walk out of the assembly. That was when his whole party decided they rather preferred the salaries and decided to abandon the UKUP and stay put.

    The reason so few people bother to vote here is because of parochial tribal politics.

    Uh, turnout in Northern Ireland assembly elections is consistently higher than UK-wide turnout in general elections. Can you explain why this is ?

    It is absurd that we have a 108 member assembly.

    Why ? There are 35 members of the Isle of Man parliament for a population of about 90,000.

    But we all live in the United Kingdom. Fact. Now why do we just get on with our lives with that fact. Not a difficult concept to grasp.

    A waste of time debating that when you refuse to grasp the reality that devolution, as a concept at least, is popular in NI.

    There are going to be public spending cuts. Hospitals or ridiculous levels of public administration- which?

    The Tories will probably slash them both.

  • Driftwood

    The Isle of Man House of Keys is at least a functioning assembly Comrade. With fiscal autonomy.
    The house of cards at Stormont is simply a facade. Who do you think will have more power over peoples lives here in May-Peter Robinson or George Osborne?
    I hope Osborne looks long and hard at that subvention. Because that will matter a lot more than the petty snowball fights and ‘Please Sir, can I have some more’ excuse for a debating chamber we have in our vicar of dibley assembly.
    Bob wisely left the scene with contempt.

  • Blair

    “Blair,

    Mr Cameron hinted that there would be a role for Lord Trimble in the Tory leadership ranks.”

    So why isn’t Trimble there now, in an advisory role (in the way that eg. Ian Parsley is) ?”

    Comrade,

    If you read the article you will see that it is because he doesn’t want one yet. Plus I imagine him being there would give a cheap propaganda boost to the Alistair Campbells of this world pre general election.

  • interested

    Sinn Fein need to wise up, if they got on with resolving the three remaining outstanding issues then P&J will come the DUP have said as much.Do they think a Conservative government are going to do them any favours while being joined up with the UUP, I doubt it.

  • Ulick

    I don’t know why you are all getting your knickers in a twist about this now. In the two weeks before Christmas when you were all obsessed with the Gerry A story I mentioned here that SF were conducting meetings with their activists on the next move.

    The overwhelming view voiced at those meetings was that the Party cannot be making threats they are not prepared to carry through. Republicans have no attachment to Stormont, never had, never will. To them it’s a stop gap to keep things ticking over peacefully for a few years, so you are wrong to attempt an analysis of the situation in terms of what you think SF think they will lose in the short term.

    At the meeting I attended, most people were only curious as to why the leadership hadn’t acted before now to collapse the Assembly.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The house of cards at Stormont is simply a facade. Who do you think will have more power over peoples lives here in May-Peter Robinson or George Osborne?

    It’s interesting reading your language about individual politicians and the power they have over people’s lives. In the Westminster system it is Parliament which is the arbiter of power.

    Nitpicking aside, while it is clear that Osborne will have more economic power than Robinson does, this doesn’t change the fact that devolution is popular in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland alike. You can’t change that fact, and the Conservatives aren’t going to change it either. So what are we talking about it for ? You’re dreaming about changes in the UK which are not going to happen.

    I hope Osborne looks long and hard at that subvention. Because that will matter a lot more than the petty snowball fights and ‘Please Sir, can I have some more’ excuse for a debating chamber we have in our vicar of dibley assembly.

    Osborne has a choice between supporting devolution, or accelerating the fracturing of the UK. Which do you think he will choose ?

    Bob wisely left the scene with contempt.

    No, he left the scene when he was defeated.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Ulick:

    At the meeting I attended, most people were only curious as to why the leadership hadn’t acted before now to collapse the Assembly.

    Should Gerry Adams, or any other single party, have the right to collapse the assembly ?

  • Alias

    “Should Gerry Adams, or any other single party, have the right to collapse the assembly ?”

    While the political representatives of 27% of the electorate [i]do[/i]have the right to invalidate the democratic franchise of the other 73%, it is self-evident that they should [i]not[/i] have that right if the will of the majority is to be respected in a democratic political system. However, the majority agreed in devising that political system that the will of the majority should not be respected thereafter within it, so it is hard to argue that it doesn’t respect the will of majority when that is the will of the majority.

    Can they move away from consociationalism and toward majoritarianism without excluding one of the two principle nations from administrative power with the state? Yes, because majoritarianism can include both nations as a mandatory condition of forming an Executive without it being necessary for it to include the largest of either party within either denomination. That way, it doesn’t matter if either the DUPers or the Shinners are the largest party since all parties could have an opportunity to form the Executive after an election (on the basis of an agreed majority of circa 51% to 70%), with the other parties forming the opposition.

    That puts the focus on the parties wishing to form the Executive making agreement between them on the basis of mutual interest and appropriate compromise, rather than where it is in the present system: the two largest parties having an automatic right to form the Executive, and the resultant mutual veto and stagnation.

  • Alias

    Clarification: “the two largest parties having an automatic right to form to be included in the Executive”

  • Babeuf

    Alias, what if DUP is reneging on the substance of the Agreement supported by that majority through intransigence? Surely Sinn Fein would be using the only avenues available for its implementation when all the other avenues had been exhausted (and one can’t say they haven’t tried the other avenues) because they are in fact truly committed to democracy, which can only be based on fair compromise and political equality? In fact, they’ve tried them so much, that their core and wider constituency and themselves now more than ever are questioning the agreement on which the peace process is based and further that this is bringing their strategy into question, risking the peace process and the possibility for progress, and strengthening the hand of dissidents. All because some Unionists remain so short sighted and opposed or misguided as to fair compromise and political equality aka democracy…

  • Alias

    Babeuf, actually, their problems stem from lying to their own members about a deadline for the devolution of policing and justice. A respect for democracy implies that you are honest with those that you seek a mandate from, and do not seek that mandate under false pretences. So that act explicitly reveals contempt for democracy, not a respect for it.

    Likewise, they have shown contempt for the DUP’s mandate since they tried to circumvent it by demanding that the British government force the DUP to commit to a timeline when they secured their own mandate on the basis that devolution could only proceed when confidence was judged to be present. That mandate from the DUP’s voters must be respected.

    If the DUP see an opportunity to exploit the corner that the Shinners painted themselves into by lying to their own Ard Fheis, then the DUP would be foolish not to use that tactical advantage created by the Shinners to gain concessions in other areas. It seems that they want concessions in regard to the parades commissions. While the Shinners now claim there is no legitimate linkage, one of their own members (Sean Murray) on that parades review body has already agreed that there is a linkage.

    That is just another thing that they have not been honest with their members about, so let’s hear no more nonsense about how commitment to democracy is best demonstrated by pathological lying, and by threatening to collapse the Assembly when you are caught short by your own weaknesses.

  • Babeuf

    1. Even if they lied, the above stands correct, if DUP are reneging on the Agreement then SF have no other option, and are in fact right to act as they propose.

    2. What of the legal concept of estoppel were to be applied here? How would one give actual effect to St. Andrews? SF, the media, the electorate, the two governments have all been led to believe (or have at least led us, the electorate as you suggest) that policing and justice will be delivered, and parading (not as a separate issue to be resolved, and not one not an issue which policing and justice will have to deal with) as a component has only recently appeared. I ask when will the Bill of Rights and the Language Act appear? Never by the looks of it. Why was Patten never fully implemented?

    3. Further, past DUP behaviour would seem to suggest this is merely a hurdle they are placing to implementation as they did again and again prior to St. Andrews and have continued after with the Irish Language Act among others. It is the DUP who have already welded concessions, which are necessary to true political equality and the substance of the Agreement.

    4. This is before we consider the history of and nature of aspects of Unionist ideology? Or comments such as Nelson McCausland’s with regard there being a culture war, a siege mentality continues?…was the substance of the Agreement not the end of this in order to establish a democratic as opposed to exclusion or ‘supremacist’ based arrangement?

    5. You are suggesting that the DUP are merely doing what Sinn Fein would do/are doing if the DUP were to let them away with it. As above this could be interpreted as what the DUP were doing and continue to do.

    6. Whoever is doing it, it is still a non-democratic practice against the spirit of the Agreement, suggesting that St.Andrews has failed, while at the same time risking the entire process and giving neither side a moral high ground, which I think you seem to suggest the DUP has by committing these actions?

    7. If the issue is ‘community confidence’, whatever this may be, what of the nationalist communities confidence? Which I might add has had few confidence inducing acts since 1998. SF as present representatives of the majority of the nationalist community have again and again expressed confidence in a process, which in many ways has failed to deliver what it has promised to its electorate – were they all lied to? Are we all naive about the prospects of the GFA?

    The issue I believe continues to be political equality….which is surely the substance of the agreement?