If not Armageddon, it looks like limbo

I’m hearing that Martin McGuinness will in effect pull the plug on powersharing next week by facing the DUP with an ultimatum they can’t accept on justice and policing. The uncompromising tone of Gerry Adams’s announcement of the postponment of their Friday ard comhairle due to bad weather seems only to have delayed the grim message.

So Sinn Fein will give the DUP no quarter over the Robinson crisis and will rather seek to exploit it. That is the depth of the chasm between them. They will insist they’ve hung about long enough and have come under real pressure from their supporters.

On the other side, the trigger statement that counts is kingmaker and chief whip Lord Morrow’s, rejecting the transfer of justice and policing powers “in the life of this Assembly.” If these rumours are true, whether Peter Robinson clings on or a new DUP leader is elected. ( Dodds favourite, Foster to balance the ticket) matters little.

A McGuinness resignation or a Robinson resignation plus a Dodds nomination is likely to bring the Assembly down within seven days of the first move. By law an Assembly election follows within six weeks , but what would be the point? Unionism faces a three way split and their nightmare of Sinn Fein as the largest party could very well come to pass.

Unionism could not live with the huge if largely symbolic victory of a Sinn Fein First Minister. What the parties care about most now is not the Assembly’s survival but their prospects in the next election. So beyond the increasingly thin chances of the status quo surviving, the options are:

1. Go through the democratic motions of an Assembly election at the end of February/beginning of March – a few weeks before the Westminster general election. To what end?

2. British govenment rushes in a one day Act to restore their powers to suspend the Assembly abolished under the St Andrew’s Agreement, or devises another way short of repealing the 1998 and 2006 NI Acts, in order to halt the election.

3. Launch high pressure British-Irish negotiations to include J&P in a devolution package – take it or leave it.

4. Abolish the second Assembly and institute green-tinged direct rule.

No negotiations to take place until well after the British general election.

And all this, when a large majority of the people want devolution to succeed.

,

  • “institute green-tinged direct rule”

    Where have you been since 1985, Brian? Mars? 🙂

  • Gael gan Náire

    “when a large majority of the people want devolution to succeed.”

    Perhaps.

    But it is clear, in my view that the majority of nationalists at least require that devolution to include total equality.

    The DUP won’t play ball, Sinn Féin have no alternative, in my opinion but to pull the plug and to deal with the subsequent senarios as per how they develope.

  • Greenflag

    Official

    There’s no limbo.

    The RC Church abolished limbo several years back . Apparently with the millions of abortions world wide and the millions of deaths of infants around the world in the poorer countries most unbaptised of course ,limbo became full to overflowing .

    Where these millions end up now is a matter for the College of Cardinals and the Grand Council of the Southern Baptist Association in the USA :(.

    I would’nt be too concerned about the Assembly . It was always a gamble and direct rule will have to do until ‘repartition’

  • The Raven

    “And all this, when a large majority of the people want devolution to succeed.”

    Perhaps so – but maybe not *this* sham of a devolution…

  • Comrade Stalin

    I imagine we’ll see a McGuinness resignation. Previously, there would have been the argument that Sinn Fein should hold back to save the DUP from the ravages of the TUV. This week’s events suggest that there is nothing that Sinn Fein could do that will delay the inevitable DUP downfall, so they may as well send the message out to their supporters that they are withdrawing due to the failure of unionism to deliver.

    Exactly what will happen then, I do not know. Westminster can very easily legislate to change any or all of the rules regarding the assembly and the associated elections, as they have done before.

    My personal view is that we need to have elections to allow the voters to send representatives to all-party talks. I still believe that devolution is popular, but people want the assembly and executive to make progress, not be constantly bound up in bickering. We need to recast the assembly and the political institutions so that they are stronger and able to withstand the assault of the tiny minority of TUV wreckers.

    In order to face any elections, the DUP will have to conduct some kind of purge and show the electorate a demonstrable break from the past. I am not a unionist, but the DUP are excellent politicans in terms of constituency work, their ability to competently manage ministries, and their ability to conduct real politics. If they can refocus the electorate on this record, I think they will do well.

  • Jaggers

    Seems farcical to me that the failure to complete what is being described as the last piece in the jigsaw, the devolution of P&J, could endanger the entire Agreement (GF or St Andrew’s – take your pick).

    Surely it will be the DUP who will suffer when it comes to whatever poll (a new Assembly or the British Gen Election) – far from sticking to some principle or other, their opponents within Unionism and without will portray them as procrastinating, flim-flam politicians uninterested in Northern Ireland being governed by Northern Irish?

  • Richard Sons

    I agree Stalin (5) – and with that in mind, is this going to be the ‘night’ or weekend of the Long Knives for the DUP?

    Electoral decline is inevitable and from this perspective it may have been better for DUP if this story had broken in March rather than be left under the carpet to appear so close to a General Election!

    Other DUP stories are in the closet and are being dusted down! Decisive action is required to stem the flow – the longer Peter remains in office, the longer this story runs (and expands to take in other issues/personalities). I can only assume this was the inevitable conclusion of the DUP naval-gazing session last-night – IMO we will see that decisive action sooner rather than later.

  • RG Cuan

    “And all this, when a large majority of the people want devolution to succeed.”

    Not so sure, many people I know would rather joint Dublin-London rule than an Assembly where rightwing fundamentalists try to stop anything that’s proposed.

    If DUP foot-dragging is set to continue (which looks likely if Dodds and co. get in) then Dublin-London seems like a better option. Let the two governments take over for a while until certain unionist politicians wake up to the realities – then we can play ball.

  • If we are playing the blame game, four thoughts:

    1. Both the P&J and the P[eter] & I[ris] businesses are self-inflicted DUP wounds.

    2. Sinn Féin claim – a claim which gains in credibility as time passes – they are a legitimate political party.

    3. Meanwhile, how many tears are being shed by all the other parties? And why should there be?

    4. It would require altruism of a certifiable degree for any political party to fail to advance its legitimate agenda at a time when its opponents are compromised.

  • Comrade Stalin

    RG Cuan:

    Not so sure, many people I know would rather joint Dublin-London rule than an Assembly where rightwing fundamentalists try to stop anything that’s proposed.

    Well, the many people that you know are a minority. As I’ve said, the election results have consistently showed an overwhelming level of support for devolution over the past ten years. Joint authority won’t have the political authority to make any kind of radical reform. That’s the whole problem with direct rule; ministers are afraid to make any real decisions because they’re sensitive to the fact that they don’t have a local mandate.

    I’ve also commented in the past on the fact that there is nobody who will be particularly warm about the joint authority idea. Who in their right mind would want to be governed by Fianna Fail, especially right now ? The major political parties in the Dail have made no secret of their distaste for Sinn Fein. Why would Sinn Fein therefore want them to exercise power over their heads ?

    If DUP foot-dragging is set to continue (which looks likely if Dodds and co. get in) then Dublin-London seems like a better option. Let the two governments take over for a while until certain unionist politicians wake up to the realities – then we can play ball.

    I’m afraid that if you think “realities” are “doing whatever stupid crap Sinn Fein wants”, then you’re in for a shock.

  • LukeCass

    @ Comrade Stalin

    “I’m afraid that if you think “realities” are “doing whatever stupid crap Sinn Fein wants”, then you’re in for a shock.”

    The completion of devolution? You class this as “stupid crap” ? I recommed further reflection and some more explanation.

  • Coll Ciotach

    Comrade

    There you go again – I, and a lot of people I know, would be in the same camp as RG on the survival of devolution.

    It does nationalists no favours maintaining Stormont

  • RG Cuan

    Comrade

    I wouldn’t want SF, or any other party, to do ‘whatever stupid crap they want’. That sounds something like your namesake would think of.

    As we all know, the situation here is complex and so any decision/agreement concerning the future of NI has to take these complexities into consideration. The GFA and SAA attempted to do so but they presumed a level of cooperation between nationalist and unionist parties. However, to many observers (including the presenter of last night’s Newsnight) it seems that Unionism is reluctant to take the necessary steps needed for devolution to work.

    If devolution and powersharing here is dysfunctional, then there is no real equality. If there is no real equality, people lose patience. I am by nature a very patient person but if the way i want to live my life is continually hampered by backward, fundmentalist unionists from Antrim, east Derry, north Down and north Armagh, then i begin looking at the benefits of other options.

    That’s the background to my previous post.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Luke,

    Stupid crap like the total mess SF have made of selection, for a start. Then there’s the nonsense of the Irish language act.

    Coll,

    What’s the point in people talking about how everyone they know agrees with them, when the election results show the opposite ? If these people you know are opposed to devolution, then let them vote for an anti-devolution party the next time there is an election. There will be at least one election in the next five months.

  • union mack

    ‘if the way i want to live my life is continually hampered by backward, fundmentalist unionists from Antrim, east Derry, north Down and north Armagh, then i begin looking at the benefits of other options’

    unionists could simply reverse the roles in that statement. SF could wait for P&J for a year or two more if they really wanted devolution to work, but it’s silly asking for these powers when we can’t reach consensus on the powers we have. personally, i am increasingly looking forward to direct rule rather than the charade that is devolution

  • LukeCass

    Comrade, your dislike of SF is clear and that can be understood, however, I will quote a section of RG Cuan’s post that I think you need to consider in more detail.

    ” If devolution and powersharing here is dysfunctional, then there is no real equality. If there is no real equality, people lose patience. I am by nature a very patient person but if the way i want to live my life is continually hampered by backward, fundmentalist unionists from Antrim, east Derry, north Down and north Armagh, then i begin looking at the benefits of other options. “

  • The Raven

    CS, would that not require rational thought and some political thinking beyond the box of “what I was told to vote”/”what mummy and daddy voted”? Thinking that thus far seems to have eluded most of the voting population in the region…?

  • My money is on 1, followed by 3, which wont work and then 4 but with a Tory administration a bit more orange-tinged (hopefully) than we have been used to.

  • RG Cuan

    If these people you know are opposed to devolution, then let them vote for an anti-devolution party the next time there is an election.

    Nationalists have continued to vote for their pro-devolution parties (SDLP/Sinn Féin) as they believed that it was the best way to achieve, eventually, a re-united Ireland. Sinn Féin and the SDLP say they still believe this so most voters will continue to vote for them.

    However, in light of the delays, excuses and general bigotry from many unionist politicians, the Assembly strategy needs to be genuinely reassessed. Of course this reassessment may show that devolution is still the best way forward but unionist foot dragging means it’s going to be a very long journey.

    For me, joint rule would clear up many of the issues that the Assembly – due to the hardline stance of certain DUPers – currently cannot.

  • Richard Sons

    P&J completes the Devolution ‘House of Cards’ – Returning to a Devolved Government means putting all the cards back into the pack.

    Waiting for some hard-line Unionists to catch up is surely better than bring the house down.

    Let us hope that Robinsongate has simply nudged the table.

  • “a claim which gains in credibility as time passes”

    Just so long as you discount the activities of their sister organised crime wing in the PRM, Malcolm.

  • union mack

    ‘joint rule would clear up many of the issues that the Assembly – due to the hardline stance of certain DUPers – currently cannot’

    is saying no to something that nationalists want hardline? when nationalists reject a unionist proposal, is this not hardline too? funny how nationalists demand the UK government impose something upon NI when unionists don’t want it. imagine if they imposed something that nationalists didn’t want at the present time?

  • LukeCass

    ” is saying no to something that nationalists want hardline? ”

    I think in the case of control over P&J, yes it is union mack. Why shouldn’t the nationalist community have these powers devolved to the executive in which they elect their representatives?

  • RG Cuan

    Is saying no to something that nationalists want hardline? when nationalists reject a unionist proposal, is this not hardline too? funny how nationalists demand the UK government impose something upon NI when unionists don’t want it.

    Of course it’s not hardline Union Mack, when there are valid reasons to say no.

    For me, however, as a member of the Irish speaking community I have seen constant attacks in the Assembly against anything that remotely promotes my language. Politicians in Britain are quite favourable towards the UK’s indigenous minority languages so direct rule would improve various aspects of my life.

    When the majority of people in Newry for example would like to have directional and distance road signs in their area in both Irish and English, why do unionist polticians from further north have to attack these proposals?

    On another issue, why does the Union flag have to fly all year on Belfast City Hall when around 50% of the city’s population disagree? Joint rule would help some of these issues and build a more equal starting point for any future local powersharing etc.

  • union mack

    because that executive can’t deal with the powers it already has?

  • union mack

    regarding city hall, ask Alliance, they hold the balance of power in that body

  • Comrade Stalin

    LukeCass, I am not sure what your point is. Nationalists don’t like unionist nutty fundamentalism. That is a reasonable point. Unionists don’t like a lot of things about nationalist representative, including the long history a lot of them of killing people. That is also a reasonable point. Realpolitik requires people to work together despite their disagreements. SF’s problem is that it picks the wrong battles and takes positions on things which are completely unrealistic.

    RG Cuan, I don’t care why exactly nationalists support devolution. Only that they do. When things change so that nationalists don’t support it anymore, than we may have something to talk about. Otherwise, all this is just speculation. Realistically, devolution is just about the only way that Sinn Fein can acquire political power anywhere in Ireland. They’re frozen out of the Dail due to them discrediting themselves with the Irish electorate, and they won’t go to Westminster. I’m not clear what alternative you think people might be inclined to support.

    It is quite true to say that powersharing will not work while both nationalists and unionists alike continue to harbour the belief that it means them each getting their own way on their own tribal shopping lists to show their own communities who the biggest prod or the biggest taig is.

  • LukeCass

    My point is essentially, “Nationalists don’t like unionist nutty fundamentalism” and nationalists are tired of it getting in the way of moving this society on, based on a system of equality.

    Quite simple. Lets have a hug ?

  • As the majority of people support continuing with some form of peace process rather than a return to a dangerous vacuum, and as I suspect a majority of republicans, myself included, would be more bothered by the refusal of unionism to accept the dFM post than the the refusal to transfer P&J, perhaps these factors could be the lynchpin of a solution.

    The DUP could claim that their support for a devolved Assembly means they are reluctantly willing to accept a possible SF FM, and SF could reluctantly accept a distant date of, for example, 2012 for the transfer of P&J. On that platform, CS’ idea of an election to talks could be fruitful.

    I suspect that UCUNF would actually be less malleable and more divisive than the DUP once Cameron takes power. I can’t see the SDLP completely reversing their fortunes. So I would hope that the current axis can adopt a strategy of putting enough on the table to dissolve the delicate parts, and thereby respect their engagements to the electorate.

    At some point, real politics has to have a role in NI; now may be just the time to introduce it as an exit from this self-made impasse. Constructive ambiguity is destined to failure when applied to the well-rehearsed debates that we have seen thus far, but on fresher ground it has enormous potential. For that reason, devolution of greater economic autonomy may also contribute to a solution.

  • I suppose the UK spooks with be twisting arms this weekend to keep this show on the road, but it is difficult to see how things can continue as they are. Better for SF to bring it down now, rather than chance a Cameron victory after which it will have much less if any pull in London. As things stand SF should demand an election within six weeks from which they will in all probability emerge as the largest party and get the first Ministers chair. (for what it is worth)

    As to the DUP they are dammed what ever they do, waiting since last March and hoping this thing would go away has cost them dear. Better to make a clean break from the Robinson’s now, what is Paisleys health like? In the short term he is about the only one who could keep the DUP ship afloat. Hence the whispers from his old pals. However would he wish to chance wading throw the type of sludge which has already engulfed his son

    From the outside looking in, it seems like links with property speculators etc, was a top down thing in the DUP, we have seem it with Paisley og and now the Robinson’s, if this is how the party elite operated the cupboard must be bursting with financial filth.

    By the way, how come the police have not been called in to look at what lay behind the 50K?

  • Scaramoosh

    Better really that SF pull it down, shoring up their own support, rather than wait to be belittled by the likes of Nigel Dodds, who will be intelligent enough to know that taking control of the party now will be something of a poisoned chalice, and who will seek to shore up things, by refusing to play ball on policing and justice before an election. This would just see SF having their noses rubbed in the dirt, ahead of an uncomfortable ride under a Cameron government.

    By turning the heat on the DUP, and forcing the collapse of the Executive, SF will appear to be taking the moral high ground (amongst their own base), and, further, they will at the same time take the heat of Adams. They will also be able to
    take a gamble that the DUP under the charmless Dodds (or any other) will take a hammering at the polls. This is a more than likely occurence, in that the Paisley franchise/legacy will come unstuck once Robinson is banished to the wilderness. (The real reason that the DUP got themselves into power, was due to apathy amongst the ordinary Protestant electorate; this issue may well spur many of them to return to the fold; not least the supporters of the UUP).

    With the executive collapsed, SF are also able to put the dissident threat to bed, for now. This will also boost their chances at the next election.

    It is a win/win situation for SF.

  • danielmoran

    Brian Walker If the crisis for the DUP over Robinson hadn’t happened, i would have said that SF would be gifting the Duppers by walking away from Stormont now, but as it stands they might as well crash this circus because the pieces will look very different and will be altered with the DUP in shreds and with unionism split when another assembly election is called. SF are now firmly in the driving seat as the last thing the DUP wants now is an assembly election. They will never again have an eight seat majority in any new assembly. DUP have passed their high water mark. It downhill now all the way and no political party on these islands will have more richly deserved it.

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    An unexpected situation has occured for Sinn Féin.

    In politics unlike boxing for example it is actually recommended to kick your adversaries when they are down.

  • Reader

    Mickhall: Better for SF to bring it down now, rather than chance a Cameron victory after which it will have much less if any pull in London. As things stand SF should demand an election within six weeks from which they will in all probability emerge as the largest party and get the first Ministers chair.
    Although the 6 weeks timescale is in the books, I don’t really think that Gordon Brown wants to display another miserable failure *before* the Westminster election. So he would probably favour a simultaneous election.
    Also, I am not sure what could be achieved by SF before the Westminster election even if the 6 week timetable was followed. The unionists have both the motive and the opportunity to delay matters for a couple of extra months.

  • “They will also be able to take a gamble that the DUP under the charmless Dodds (or any other) will take a hammering at the polls.”

    Charm never has, or will, win Unionist votes, Dodds appeal will lie in allowing some DUP voters who would otherwise stray to the TUV stay with the DUP as he will presumably have made their no deal with SF over the devolution of police policy clear by then.

    The dissident threat will now increase with a destabilised Northern Ireland and it would not be suprising if SF were less motivated to discourage deteriorating community relations particulalry during contentiouns marches as they re-pursue their failed-state policy.

  • alan56

    A Fermanagh Leader and a Fermanagh Deputy. The west of the province under-represented?

  • JD

    “Go through the democratic motions of an Assembly election at the end of February/beginning of March – a few weeks before the Westminster general election. To what end?”

    In that scenario, how long is it before the newly elected assembly meets to elect a FMDFM and when they fail to do so, legally (as opposed to politically) what happens next?

  • Dixie Elliott

    With the executive collapsed, SF are also able to put the dissident threat to bed, for now. This will also boost their chances at the next election.

    It is a win/win situation for SF.

    Scaramoosh, the ‘dissident’ threat is the reason people are still voting for PSF, that and believe it or not the fear that they themselves will return to armed struggle if they were rejected at the polls.

    Otherwise why vote for a party that is no less incompetent than the SDLP?

  • percy

    Adams is right to take a strong line here,
    which is that the time for messing around is over.

  • Alias

    Stormont is the only game in town, and that will still be the situation 20 years from now. Either folks in NI want to have some political control over their state(let) or they do not – and the overwhelming evidence is that they do.

    So, it’s no big deal if the political institutions need some tweaking because they will get whatever tweaking they need. The Shinners are the only party that is happy with the present dysfunctional arrangement because it guarantees them a place in the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, and as long as the Shinners do well out of it, that’s all that matters to them.

    However, folks want more democratic political institutions that deliver results for all of the people of NI, and that’s the ‘people power’ that will lead to the post-termination tweaking to deliver that.

  • Most Unionists really only want to be British and would be quite happy to have full integration with NO local control except that option was surrendered in the GFA to buy off the PIRA. We need a Tory government under direct rule to hollow out the Green aspects of the GFA to suit Unionists just as SF intended to hollow out the Orange aspects under Stormont. Game on.

  • Kevsterino

    A hollowing out of the Green aspects of the Good Friday Agreement would require the Dublin government to go along with it. It is, after all, an international agreement, is it not?

  • JD

    “Better for SF to bring it down now, rather than chance a Cameron victory after which it will have much less if any pull in London. As things stand SF should demand an election within six weeks from which they will in all probability emerge as the largest party and get the first Ministers chair”.

    I suppose a Tory government would not look at the problem as “how to devolve P&J” but “how to devolve without SF”. Sinn Fein bringing forward an assembly election to make them the biggest party in Stormont makes it harder for a Tory government to build a powersharing executive without the biggest party in the assembly.

    Would not a late Feb/early March assembly election cause the SDLP conference to be postponed and leave their opponent stuck with the divisions of a postponed leadership election?

  • Sammy Morse

    We need a Tory government under direct rule to hollow out the Green aspects of the GFA to suit Unionists just as SF intended to hollow out the Orange aspects under Stormont.

    Ulster Unionism was at its weakest point in its history in the late 1980s and early 1990s when a Tory government led by a staunchly nationalistic Prime Minister fond of making pro-Unionist statements went over its head and signed the Anglo-Irish Agreement with Dublin, and then faced with the chronic political myopia and obstructionism of Ulster Unionism, prepared to cut a further deal with the Irish government over its head as long as the IRA stopped blowing up London.

    Republicans have, since the 1970s, got more from London governments of either political stripe than they have got from Ulster Unionists when they had some control over the political process. When you look at what SF are saying at the moment, with the strategy of getting into government on both sides of the border in tatters as they flatline in the south, they may well have made that calculation. That would explain why they are so blasé about walking from Stormont.

    By conspiring with the collapse of devolution, Unionism is cutting the brake lines to its only means of controlling the direction of politics in NI. The Ulster Unionist Party today (a mere rump of what it was in 1972) having an organic relationship with the Tories will no more prevent a Tory government shafting them than the same organic relationship stopped them being shafted in 1972, or Enoch Powell’s integrationist strategy did in 1985.

    Tory governments’ understanding of the national interest, indeed the British people’s collective understanding of the national interest, stops at the cliffs of Galloway and beaches of Lancashire. Always has, always will.

    If Strand 1 collapses, Strand 2, underpinned by international treaty, remains in force. Unionism is unlikely to find a Tory government sympathetic to its aims, because the first serious area of political dispute, and possibly civic unrest, next year will be the marching season. There is no sympathy for the tradition of parading in Britain.

    On issues like the Irish language, the Unionist perspective will chime with sections, but only sections of Toryism, but many will be bewildered at the hostility to expressions of non-British national identity of the type which the Tories have long negotiated an ideological compromise with in Wales and desperately flag their support for in Scotland.

    Moderate Unionist also makes a category error of the type often made by Nationalists envisaging a united Ireland, in assuming that nationalism will somehow remain a passive force if a Tory government hollowed out the Green aspects of the GFA. A Tory government won’t do that anyway and if it did Nationalism is hardly going to remain politically passive.

    There is a lot of self-delusion going on here. The GFA/St. Andrew’s settlement has been poor at delivering good government (as the Alliance Party has been warning for a decade) but it has been good at what it set out to do – removing civil unrest and armed militias from Northern Ireland politics. While it undoubtedly needs overhauled, don’t assume you can simply remove the political tapestry which has enabled “normal society” to progress here and not risk that progress.

  • tacapall

    When the Westminister election comes and with the Unionist vote split, why do people assume Unionists might hold the balance of power in Westminister, for the first time it might be Nationalists and then The Malcolm X stragety comes in “By any means necessary” Does anyone believe Sinn Fein, if they possibly could further Nationalists aims, would not take their seats at Westminister. It would be the perfect excuse for Sinn Fein to ditch the last big hurdle for them in their quest for power. They would have done it long ago only the grass roots would never accept it.

  • Mason Powell

    Luke Cass:
    “Why shouldn’t the nationalist community have [P&J] powers devolved to the Executive in which they elect their representatives?”

    For as long as nationalists knowingly elect self-confessed terrorist godfathers to the Assembly to be Executive ministers, you will have to get used to Unionists saying “no” to those terrorists having a measure of control over the administration of law and order. What sort of headcases think paedophiles would make good teachers? What sort of headcases think violent criminals should be involved in policing and the courts? The idea is just ridiculous. And while I’m on the subject, why is it (and this is not a rhetorical question!) that a majority of nationalists seem perfectly happy to make the considered, informed choice to vote for people whose violent past are an open book, while Unionists almost without exception refuse to vote for people who have been involved in murder and bombing?

  • tacapall

    I’m on the subject, why is it (and this is not a rhetorical question!) that a majority of nationalists seem perfectly happy to make the considered, informed choice to vote for people whose violent past are an open book, while Unionists almost without exception refuse to vote for people who have been involved in murder and bombing?

    Wasn’t it David Irvine who said that the DUP told them not to call a ceasefire, Wasn’t it the DUP who formed the third force, Is it not your mother parliament Westminister who is sending it troops to Iraq and Afghanistan to murder innocent men women and children in their search for non existant weapons of mass destruction all the while having hundreads of weapons of mass destruction themselves.

  • danielmoran

    tacapall msg 20. it’s the logical continuation of recognising the PSNI and going into stormont. You’re absolutly correct. It’s too late now for SF to refuse westminster seats. They will do that as I predicted when Marty is [in legality even if not in practice] the main NI party. The DUP can only lose from now on.

  • danielmoran

    Tacapall msg 22. I have pointed out elsewhere that that the reason Nationalists vote for SF since the DUP became the main Unionist party is nothing to do with the Provo past of it’s members but because of trimbles failed gamble in 2000. The duplicity party is only now the main unionist party because voters on their side were lulled into believing that however much they were raw sewage, politically, at least DUPPers would never go into bed with IRA men. Well, they know different now, don’t they.
    So, knowing that the DUP really wanted to share power now with SDLP [who in 1974 they found repugnant and beneath themselves to be anywhere near, nationalists were determined that if the pondlife that is the DUP were to get power, it would be with shinners or not at all.
    Understand now?

  • tacapall

    If you read the post again Daniel, msg 22 you will see that I was commenting on msg 21, I know why Nationalists vote for Sinn Fein being Nationalist myself, I dont vote and never have whats the point, Britain has never acted in the Interests of the Irish people when they used the ballot box to express their wishes.

  • Sammy,

    I didnt say we would get a sympathetic Tory government I said we “need” one, I am fully aware of their poor track record over the last 30 years, but at least Cameron is making the right noises and there are some grounds for optimism in the decision to link with UU. if Unionism is again disappointed I think it will lead to greater unity and a determination to avoid the damaging splits that have resulted from the GFA and STA.

  • danielmoran

    tacapall. I take your point. sorry. I have actually read the book about David Irvine, [Uncharted Waters] so I should have understood your point. I’ve been obviously listening to too much Simon and Garfunkel in the wake of the iris scandal. Goodnight, anyway.

  • LukeCass

    Mason Powell, let me refer you to this rather interesting poll.
    http://www.tinyurl.com/ycj8khp

    “For as long as nationalists knowingly elect self-confessed terrorist godfathers to the Assembly to be Executive ministers, you will have to get used to Unionists saying “no” to those terrorists having a measure of control over the administration of law and order.”

    This language is the typical sensational mantra one can expect from a ” say no to all ” mindset. Thankfully, as the Belfast Telegraph poll shows, this out of date mindset is becoming less common. We know it takes time for the DUP and the like to say yes, but they say it.

  • Dewi

    “Unionism could not live with the huge if largely symbolic victory of a Sinn Fein First Minister”

    What are the official DUP and UUP lines on this I wonder. Philosophically I can’t see how you can up for the GFA and not agree to serve.

  • Mason Powell

    LukeCass,
    Northern Ireland Office-sponsored opinion polls are designed to serve a purpose (although in this case events have overtaken the poll and you are probably the only person in NI who still remembers it or cares about it). I would attach far more significance to a poll if I knew how many respondents actually voted in the last election and will be voting in the forthcoming General Election. If you exclude non-voters I suspect the results would look a bit different. (See Post 25: Tacapall rather makes my point).

    How is it a “typical sensational mantra” (??) to point out that the criminals ought not to have any control over the police? For anyone with any grasp of reality that ought to be wholly self-evident. I know the lunatics are in control of the Stormont asylum, but fortunately that sorry state of affairs looks likely to end soon. Thank God and Iris!

  • Erasmus

    Mason Powell,
    Would you have a problem with an SDLP minister for P&J?

  • LukeCass

    Mason Powell, criminals will not have control over the police.

    These old cries really are the height of tedium and like I have said before, are less common, as the dinosaurs that bellow them go slowly but steadily to their graves (political or otherwise). Younger generations of Northern Irish people do not hold the same bitterness that you do and we will be moving on.

  • Greenflag

    mason powell,

    ‘Thank God and Iris!’

    So it was God who made Iris go astray because only by her going astray could the Assembly be brought down ?

    Do ye not think that God had enough to be doing delivering the freezing whether so that SF could postpone it’s ‘bring down the Assembly’ meeting .

    ‘I know the lunatics are in control of the Stormont asylum,’

    So? That has always been the case . Ever since the place was first established . This is why NI politics are as they are . If you build an asylum you can rest assure that a supply of lunatics to fill it will be found .

  • Comrade Stalin

    Moderate Unionist,

    I didnt say we would get a sympathetic Tory government I said we “need” one, I am fully aware of their poor track record over the last 30 years

    What you’re effectively saying is that you need the Tories to come in, side with the Unionists and steamroller all over the SDLP and Sinn Fein. Yes ? Is that what you call “moderate unionism” ? It sounds more like fascism to me.

  • Coll Ciotach

    There should be no messing around with the DUP,SF should go for the jugular. The DUP had no problem in its minimilistic treatment of nationalism, they must now be made to pay the price. Let them see that as the sow so shall they reap. They showed no generosity of spirit so as they done to others let that be done to them. There is no problem for nationalists in the mess being thrown back into the hands of Gordon. This reverses the policy of Ulsterisation. It also means that Westminster and Dublin get to rule which is a boon to nationalists. If London plays hardball with Dublin then They have to remember that when it comes to European matters Dublin will not be predisposed to paly ball with them, also they cannot afford to alienate nationalism in general. If our elected reps do not get treated properly the message being sent out is that London only responds to violence and so they play into the dissident hands.

    Nationalists really have little to lose. Collapse Stormont and do it soon.

  • Greenflag

    dewi ,

    ‘Philosophically I can’t see how you can up for the GFA and not agree to serve.’

    Eh ? I can’t believe you see that dewi 😉
    Haven’t you heard that it’s one rule for temmuns and another rule for us uns ? Of course they’ll have to find a form of words to put a gloss on the hypocrisy . That alas will not prove much of a problem for the hypocrites .

  • tacapall

    That alas will not prove much of a problem for the hypocrites .
    Posted by Greenflag on Jan 10, 2010 @ 02:29 PM

    Of course they are as Mason points out when they lecture people about terrorists in Government, Unionists have long been associated with Loyalist paramilitries and always turned a blind eye to their activities even to the point of excausing it as “Reactionary”.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Mason Powell,

    For as long as nationalists knowingly elect self-confessed terrorist godfathers to the Assembly to be Executive ministers, you will have to get used to Unionists saying “no” to those terrorists having a measure of control over the administration of law and order.

    Mason, throughout the 1970s (UWC Strike) to 1990s (Drumcree) Unionist politicians allied themselves with loyalist paramilitaries to force the hand of successive British governments using violence.

    Here is a photograph of Willie McCrea (endorsed several times over as an MP) talking to Billy Wright.. What do you think they were talking about ?

    Why do Unionist voters knowingly people who align themselves with terrorists, and why are they, by your standards, fit for government ?

    Coll:

    Nationalists really have little to lose. Collapse Stormont and do it soon.

    Nationalists have a lot to lose. Like the ability to influence government in NI and have political power.

  • soandso

    I know this is terribley naive and idealistic, but why does it have to be either green tinged or orange tinged direct rule? And also, it really does worry me how everyone was quick to say “oh I hope it protects me.” Unless we want to get into anarchism, it’s not just about you. And even if one of those right wing religious nuts (andt let’s be honest they pretty much all are, regardless of their party) is who you are against, if other’s support them then that is their right to do so.

  • Mason Powell

    In reverse order:
    COMRADE STALIN, you labour under the delusion that I would want a nutcase like Willie McCrea in government. No, I wouldn’t. But if sharing a platform with a terrorist is unacceptable to you, how do think people like me feel about the nationalist community electing not just the ones who share the platform with the terrorists, but the actual terrorists?

    LUKE CASS: You may find it tedious to hear people who lived through the Troubles expressing a determination that individuals who directly participated in terrorism should not have a role to play in policing and justice, but others (and I’m not including myself here) who had family members murdered and maimed would not agree. There are probably young people who make jokes about the Holocaust, but they won’t get laughs from the survivors. Young people who don’t remember what the IRA did can still read about it before deciding how to vote, but the incredible degree of hurt (which exists on both sides) will probably only begin to fade when the chief protagonists had left the stage. If you think being opposed to terrorists in government makes me a dinosaur, then I’m happy to answer to the name Rex.

    ERASMUS: You ask if I would have a problem with an SDLP Minister for P&J. In principle, no. I accept that the SDLP has no terrorist baggage, and a man like Alban Maginness would be up to the task, but you will probably realise from my earlier posts that I don’t want anyone to be Minister for P&J under the present political system. We first need to see the end of the current Assembly. If another can be set up on the basis of a voluntary coalition with an agreed weighted majority, and if the governing parties freely distribute the portfolios so that the SDLP has P&J, so be it. That’s democracy.

  • tacapall

    Mason is it the name Sinn Fein you object to or some of the party members, there are some in that party who have never had any involvement in what you call Terrorism. Furthermore is that your defination of democracy that if you dont like who your opponents vote for then dismiss the vote, Wasn’t Nelson Mandella courted by the Royal family and the ANC recognized all over the world as a legatimate party, whats the difference between them and Sinn Fein.

  • Comrade Stalin,

    I think I am entitled, as a citizen of the United Kingdom to hope that the people of Northern Ireland are treated like full citizens by the incoming Tory government without being called a fascist. Constitutional concessions to Nationalism, such as a greater say for the Southern government, would in my opinion undermine the UK citizenship of the people of Northern Ireland.

  • Mason Powell

    Tacapall,
    It’s not what I call terrorism, it’s what the world calls terrorism. And if you are trying to compare Nelson Mandela to the likes of Adams and McGuinness, you should move to a residence where the walls are padded.

  • tacapall

    #

    Tacapall,
    It’s not what I call terrorism, it’s what the world calls terrorism. And if you are trying to compare Nelson Mandela to the likes of Adams and McGuinness, you should move to a residence where the walls are padded.
    Posted by Mason Powell on Jan 10, 2010 @ 08:11 PM

    The point im making is both parties got power by the force of arms, It was Tony Blair that announced to the world that the IRA were fighting for a political cause, the leader then of your government, when Unionists tried to compare them with al qaeda

  • Coll Ciotach

    Comrade what makes you think that nationalists would worry about losing power in a northern assembly if that assembly would not exist without them?

  • Comrade Stalin

    COMRADE STALIN, you labour under the delusion that I would want a nutcase like Willie McCrea in government. No, I wouldn’t. But if sharing a platform with a terrorist is unacceptable to you, how do think people like me feel about the nationalist community electing not just the ones who share the platform with the terrorists, but the actual terrorists?

    Mason, I will agree with you that Sinn Fein are not fit for devolved government, if you will agree with me that the DUP and UUP are not fit for government given their past associations with terrorists, Vanguard, Ulster Resistance, the UWC Strike, the 1978 UDA strike, Drumcree, Third Force, etc etc etc. Do we have a deal ? The reason I’m asking you this is because your original contribution seemed to suggest that only Sinn Fein had ruled themselves out. Sinn Fein weren’t the only contributors to the violence.

    MU, I called you a fascist because you essentially want devolved government removed so that you can bypass the need to account for the sensitivities and requirements of a section of your fellow countrymen.

    I do not think that Sinn Fein and the SDLP should be able to dictate the agenda. Likewise, I do not think any of the unionists should be able to dictate the agenda, and that’s what you want the Conservatives to do. Unfortunately for you, it’s not likely to work that way, and as Sammy Morse pointed out earlier, Direct Rule is much more likely to serve Sinn Fein’s interest if anything. I’d say there’s about a 1 in 5 chance of a hung parliament, and without that, nobody is going to give a rats ass about unionists.