Our first home-grown political scandal…

My extended thoughts on the bigger picture implications of this story… Not simply for Robinson, but for the whole settlement… Sinn Fein clearly view this relationship as their second failed arrangement with Unionists at Stormont…

Back to the drawing board…

Maybe, but whatever comes out of this mess has to be decided by politicians and not social scientists… The so-called Good Friday Agreement seems to have delivered us into a particularly nasty form of the Belgian disease (ie, only with added Ulster terror)…

More over at the Telegraph…

  • John O’Connell

    It think it’s fair to say that the days of SF-DUP dominance are also over. Others are waiting in the wings while these scandals take down their opponents.

  • joeCanuck

    Mick,

    Just a small point. The relationships between politicians and developers isn’t just an Irish, North and South, trait.
    In Toronto the developers sit in at council meetings (public gallery) and the Councillors will look to them, blatantly, to get the nod which way to vote on proposed developments. And it ain’t confined to Toronto.
    It can take hundreds of thousands of dollars to get elected as a Councillor in the major conurbations and guess where the donations come from.

  • We are now probably looking at beefed up councils with intrusive direct rule and increased dissident activity mixed with greater marching season tension for the forseeable future.

    Press the rewind button.

  • John O’Connell,

    that unfortunately is simply wishful thinking, the main electoral beneficaries from this fiasco will be SF and the TUV.

    Having said that, post devolution, not sure there will any significant differences of policy between the 3 main unionist parties with all probably preferring direct rule to cutting a deal with SF.

  • Mark McGregor

    mick, surely the questions raised on relationships with moneymen should be addressed in the 1st instance by removing the shroud of secrecy from political donations. is all too easy to hide cosy financial relationships

  • joeCanuck

    Mark,

    That’s how you start. It’s the way that they have moved to address the disgraceful shenanigans in Canada that I mentioned above. Not just transparency but contribution limits too.

  • Mrazik

    mick, surely the questions raised on relationships with moneymen should be addressed in the 1st instance by removing the shroud of secrecy from political donations. is all too easy to hide cosy financial relationships

    Posted by Mark McGregor on Jan 08, 2010 @ 10:14 PM

    On the money, if you pardon the pun.

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    John,

    There is nothing in this game for just being somebody other than SF or DUP.

  • Mr Crowley

    We are now probably looking at beefed up councils with intrusive direct rule and increased dissident activity mixed with greater marching season tension for the forseeable future.

    Press the rewind button.
    Posted by Moderate Unionist on Jan 08, 2010 @ 10:01 PM

    The ugly face of the normalisation of British rule becomes increasingly apparent. One of the principle failings of this policy is that it relied too heavily upon the related criminalisation policy. The GFA has failed as will any ‘agreement’ which ignores the fundamental issue of British rule in Ireland.

  • John O’Connell

    Moderate Unionist

    People are beginning to look back to the ethical and moral and truthful parties that once took their fancy. The TUV may benefit slightly at first as may SF but my belief is that the SDLP and UUP will come back into play.

    SOT Admin

    I think there is much to be said for not being part of these cursed parties.

  • Greenflag

    Mr Crowley ,

    Well perhaps but lets face it the lack of British rule in the Irish Republic has not stopped our CJ Haughey’s and Fitzgeralds among many others from displaying their ugly faeces :)? Some might have the cheek to suggest it even enhanced the grasping potential of our local cunning politicians and bankers and clergy etc etc !

  • Lionel Hutz

    Well, remember the rumours were initially relating to a panorama program, not spotlight. BBC have announced that a panorama is on Monday. Maybe that’s the juicy one. I mean, although spotlight raised big scandals, it wasn’t in depth really. What’s coming?

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Mark

    Openness over donations would only work if the money is actualy declared!

  • percy

    Arlene Foster to take over as First Minister
    ~the human face of unionism~

  • JD

    “Well perhaps but lets face it the lack of British rule in the Irish Republic has not stopped our CJ Haughey’s and Fitzgeralds among many others from displaying their ugly faeces”

    In Britain they resign at the drop of a hat. Down south the philosophy is hang in their and brazen it out.

    So the question is – Is the Unionist Leader behaving live an Irish politician or a British politician?

  • Mr Crowley

    Well perhaps but lets face it the lack of British rule in the Irish Republic has not stopped our CJ Haughey’s and Fitzgeralds among many others from displaying their ugly faeces :)?
    Posted by Greenflag on Jan 08, 2010 @ 10:58 PM

    The not-so-free state has been administered by quislings and gangsters since its inception. Tendencies towards independent behaviour were met with economic sanctions and mass murder (Dublin-Monaghan bombings).
    James Connolly predicted what was to come and what shall ever be until the malignancy is excised.

  • This is a problem caused by politicians who have been in power so long they do not recognise any difference between their personal benefit and their duties. Like MPs expenses, they don’t understand that we want them to serve their constituents, not be the masters of all, starting with getting council workers to do work on their house, and ending up with cheques from developers.

    Unfortunately for the UUP and SDLP, they were also in power too long. So the only solution that would work is to get rid of the four old farts in favour of new parties like the Greens – or to at least disqualify from standing anyone who have held an elected office for 10 years or more, to bring in a new generation

  • JD

    “The not-so-free state has been administered by quislings and gangsters since its inception.”

    But elected gangsters. I think you’d find getting rid of partition won’t change that.

    Besides para-militarism is a most oppresive form of gangsterism for working class communities. I am sure James Connolly wouldn’t have hesitated fighting to excise that malignancy

  • JD

    “So the only solution that would work is to get rid of the four old farts in favour of new parties like the Greens – or to at least disqualify from standing anyone who have held an elected office for 10 years or more, to bring in a new generation ”

    At the end of the day it is up to the electorate to be vigilant. People get the politicians they deserve. I would not make excuses for the electorate

  • Sammy Morse

    Having said that, post devolution, not sure there will any significant differences of policy between the 3 main unionist parties with all probably preferring direct rule to cutting a deal with SF.

    The enthusiasm for direct rule will not extend to the largest unionist party in these islands, should it form the next government at Westminster. What the Tories say in opposition, with a weak NI team and with a peaceful NI may well have little in common with what they do in government, with the institutional directing of Whitehall, and the dissidents seeking to fill a political vacuum.

    87 years of Northern Ireland have taught most people that it is ungovernable without the involvement of nationalists in its governance. So, if this political settlement fails in the next few weeks, we will be back soon after to try and make another one – after another few wasted years of direct rule. And that political settlement will not be Lord Empey of Knock acting as Secretary of State.

    I’m not sure how any of us in the political class – and I include myself in this – could turn around to Peadar Heffron and his family and justify the masturbatory navel gazing we’ve been involved in this week.

  • danielmoran

    MSG 10. moderate unionist
    I don’t think that the SDLP, whover takes the reins from the stultifying dismal Durkan era, will eat much into the SF vote for two reasons. One; I agree with Brian Feeney, that replacing a leader who is 50 yrs old with one who is 60 is all that clever a move on the stoops part, and two; The reason that nationalists have installed SF as their effective default representatives to face Unionists is unlikely to change as long as the DUP is the main unionist party. I realise the duppers could be beyond their high water mark and be about to get their richly deserved punishment, but this would only result in a farther right unionism in the shape of former DUP bodysnatchers now TUV. How is that an improvement on the detretitus of the duppers?
    No, I see a very long period of indirect rule ahead, not something I would complain about especially compared to the deadend fag end DUP.

  • Mr Crowley

    But elected gangsters. I think you’d find getting rid of partition won’t change that.

    Besides para-militarism is a most oppresive form of gangsterism for working class communities. I am sure James Connolly wouldn’t have hesitated fighting to excise that malignancy
    Posted by JD on Jan 08, 2010 @ 11:51 PM

    Only an empowered Irish people will ever get rid of partition and the inherent gansterism that it breeds. The malignancy is Britain’s selfish, strategic and economic interest which is generally to be found orchestrating the gangsterism to some extent.

  • Driftwood

    Sammy Morse

    Ever heard of Integration?

    Jim Molyneaux knew how politics works more than you ever will.

    Sorely missed.

  • belfast greyhound

    Funny how even a ‘new’ story’ ends up with the good old come-all-yees singing the same songs of yesteryear and managing to obscure the real nature of the present day problem here.

    Partition and a malign British influence in Ireland does not cause the moral, financial and political black hole which we are seeing in the Robinson Saga.

  • Sammy Morse

    Ever heard of Integration?

    Integrationism has always been a fantasy, a sort of Unionist Land of Oz where if only British political parties would fight elections in Northern Ireland, the scales would fall from Irish nationalists’ eyes and would realise they were really British all along.

    In a post-devolutionary era in UK politics, a return to direct rule would only copperfasten Northern Ireland’s very abnormality. Even if Strand 1 died beyond resurrection, Strand 2 is still underpinned by international treaty and Unionism would be returned to its pre-1998 status – i.e. Dublin involved in decision making about the internal affairs of Northern Ireland affairs without any meaningful involvement by Unionist politicians.

    Jim Molyneaux knew how politics works more than you ever will.

    The man who said the IRA ceasefire was the greatest threat to the Union since partition? Interesting choice of political role-models.

    Oh, yes, Jim Molyneaux he had a great understanding of how politics worked. He thought because Maggie Thatcher made a couple of speeches in the Commons, and he regularly had tea and buns with Nicholas Budgen and Andrew Hunter that the Tories would back him to the hilt. Then Maggie went behind his back and negotiated the Anglo-Irish Agreement.

    The Tories have thrown Ulster Unionism under a bus when it suited them since the days Randolph Churchill and UCUNF fanboys, pied-piper like, are queueing up to throw their only control mechanism out the window.

    I’m starting to understand why the Shinners seem so blasé about walking.