Which collapse scenario do you prefer?

On Inside Politics, collapse scenarios loomed ever larger. Sinn Fein’s Gerry Kelly refused to answer Mark Devenport’s question posed twice – if Robinson resigns will McGuinness be renominated?

SF’s Urgent Question to Robinson tomorrow is clear evidence of breakdown already. If FMDFM was functioning at any level, it would be dealt with between the two leaders privately and a joint statement would follow. Did you imagine for a second that would ever happen?.

Kelly gave credibility to what I’m hearing, that Sinn Fein are preparing to pull the plug anyway. His demand to know what else may come out over the Robinson affair is irrelevant, no more than a flanker to extract marginal advantage and heap more blame the DUP for the crisis.

Is he seriously suggesting SF would withdraw over any further DUP corruption allegations?

When pressed, he came to the real point. ” At the meeting between Martin McGuinness, Pter Robinson and Nigel Dodds, they had no notion of moving towards a date ( for J&P) and we were already in a substantial political crisis.”

Only one thing will give the parties pause – what happens next, and how can they take advantage of it. Unless the perfect storm suddenly subsides, the question for the next ten days or so is this. What will trigger collapse first: the resignation of Martin McGuinness or the toppling of Peter Robinson, followed by the nomination of Nigel Dodds?

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  • Eoin

    Sinn Féin have every right to pull out of the current arrangement- the DUP have not lived up to the St Andrews Agreement (Irish Language Act & Policing and Justice) and so I, would fully support their withdrawl from the executive, which would bring devolution to suspension.

    If internal DUP spats and fundamentalist anti-nationalist feeling will prohibit the honouring of the agreement (St Andrews) then Sinn Féin have a duty to the nationalist/republican community to withdraw with immediate effect.

    The result of such a decision, would reinforce their support, and further divide unionism, which may provide nationalists with the opportunity to cement the language of this Island into law.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The result of such a decision, would reinforce their support, and further divide unionism, which may provide nationalists with the opportunity to cement the language of this Island into law.

    Eoin, surely you must be utterly desperate if you’re looking to London and an incoming Conservative administration to deliver the Sinn Fein agenda ?

  • tacapall

    #

    So in your words the IRA’s war was legitimate, whats your problem then with Irish people seeking reunifacation,…..

    not at all, people had the right to vote for policitans here, just because nationalists didnt have the policitcal majority they decided to murder prods.

    If there was any imposed role for dublin against the will of the majority then the people of NI have the right to oppose it, physically if they must.
    Posted by Harry J on Jan 10, 2010 @ 08:08 PM

    Yes thats right pretend not to see the posts above re 1918, your colonial days are over theres no going back to a protestant parliment for a protestant people. Oh and when was the last census how much of a majority do you think you have, time is on the Nationalist side they will simply outbreed you.

  • union mack

    it shows how toothless the republican movement is without it’s weaponry. running away from difficulties in stormont wont be replaced with direct rule appeasement, from a government in electoral tie-up with the UUP, with the threat of guns under the table long gone. not much wriggle room for SF, despite the DUP’s calamities

  • Eoin

    No Comrade;
    Joint Authority (DUBLIN & LONDON) will preside over the 6 counties. The British Government WANT to see IRISH (GAELIGE) recognised in law, as European law dictates..
    It would be the proposition of the Free State, and withouth opposition from Westminster, the Language Act would pass…

    I have never, and shall never look to England for anything.

    Unionists are too stupid to realise the collapse of the assembly will result in Joint Authority, as the creation of the BIIGC stated in the GFA.

    It is in the interests of unionists to maintain Stormont, or else DUBLIN will have control over you.

  • union mack

    ‘Oh and when was the last census how much of a majority do you think you have, time is on the Nationalist side they will simply outbreed you’

    lets use this moment of stagnation to have a border poll, we will know far clearer if there is any likelihood of a UI in the coming decades after one. i’m up for that. are republicans?

  • wee slabber

    The Republican movement’s weaponry is its very strong electoral vote. That’s a powerful weapon that can’t be ignored.

  • Harry J

    at least when stormont goes the North/south bodies also go, thank god for that

  • union mack

    wee slabber

    to be fair, it can be ignored, 250,000 people outside city hall in 1985 were ignored so i wouldn’t be so sure

  • tacapall

    #

    ‘Oh and when was the last census how much of a majority do you think you have, time is on the Nationalist side they will simply outbreed you’

    lets use this moment of stagnation to have a border poll, we will know far clearer if there is any likelihood of a UI in the coming decades after one. i’m up for that. are republicans?
    Posted by union mack on Jan 10, 2010 @ 08:21 PM

    Why dont Nationalist just do as you do and be obstinate and wait till they are in the majority it wont be far off, certainly in your lifetime.

  • union mack

    so, border poll then??

  • wee slabber

    Unionism is so divided I doubt you’d get 25,000 on the streets now. And an electoral vote, registered and democratic, has a force that can’t be ignored.

  • union mack

    probably not, but nor could republicans. yet again, it can be ignored, unionists had a much stronger electoral base than SF in the 1980’s and 1990’s, yet were largely ignored. now, border poll this year?

  • tacapall

    border poll this year?

    You already answered your own question – it can be ignored, just like 1918

  • union mack

    either way, direct rule will satisfy unionists

  • wee slabber

    It’s not about staisfying one side or the other. It’s about accomodating all sides. That’s the lesson to be taken on board by all!

  • union mack

    indeed, i agree, but as the assembly is the primary place for this, and SF are on the verge of bringing it down, direct rule will do fine

  • tacapall

    #

    either way, direct rule will satisfy unionists
    Posted by union mack on Jan 10, 2010 @ 08:45 PM

    Direct rule with Dublin, it was the Tory’s who imposed the Anglo Irish Agreement over Unionist heads, what makes you think they will not do so again.

  • union mack

    firstly, i never said they wouldnt, but…

    a) we’re in peacetime, there is no rush for a deal

    b) there is a new Tory commitment to stand in every corner of the UK, if they went against UUP advice on that one, it would be electoral pact over

    c) dublin influence would be of little consequence, do FF or FG/Labour have any time for pressing the UK govt. to implement a Sinn Fein wishlist? almost certainly not.

  • tacapall

    c) dublin influence would be of little consequence, do FF or FG/Labour have any time for pressing the UK govt. to implement a Sinn Fein wishlist? almost certainly not.
    Posted by union mack on Jan 10, 2010 @ 08:56 PM

    Its not a Sinn Fein wish its a Nationalist one but seeing as its of little consequence to you and therefore your not worried about it then Unionism and Nationalism could indeed do a lasting deal.

  • PaddyReilly

    Every election in NI is a border poll, just about. Particularly suitable for this purpose are Euro elections, in which issues of European governance never raise their head. The results of the 2009 elections showed that the Nationalist camp is still about 21,000 votes short of the required numbers, though arguably it was a poor turn out. Consequently we must wait till 2014, or any other election in the intervening 4 years which shows a Nationalist majority. However, the most accurate calculations show that this is unlikely to be before 2016.

  • union mack

    the most pressing issue to SF is devolving policing and justice. to an assembly they are going to collapse. good common sense politics. as for irish language etc, im not particularly bothered about it al all, though in light of UK spending cuts do you thing direct rule ministers will find it an effective use of a reducing budget? nope. i’d like to see a this deal working. however, my point is that SF could provide the leeway for a deal, by giving the DUP time to bring the hardline element on board. but they would rather grab the ‘prize’ of being the biggest party in time for 2016, even though it would be a party powerless to effect change other than in councils. how is that to the benefit of nationalist or unionist?

  • Garza

    Loving Republicans on here speaking like that unionism is one massive solid block that isn’t divided or anything lol. Painting us all together in the same brush stroke.

    As a unionist I want P&J devolved as soon as possible. Policing and Justice is a BIG repsonsibility that cannot be rushed. We are talking about the well being of every single person in NI.

    I seem to remember unionists waiting a LOOOOOOONG time for the IRA to get rid of its weapons. 8 years was it?

    P&J won’t take that long, but I am amazed by the SF democrats, stamping their feet and threatening to pull all we have worked for an invested in for the last 12 years. This is not how democrats work.

    Coupled with the fact that the SF education minister is not power-sharing in her department either.

    It does leave us wondering if Sinn Fein are going to put on a hissy fit everytime it doesn’t get its own way. This is not powersharing.

    Although many of you are rubbing your hands with glee that Stormount could come down, forget it. Devolution is here to stay, the process has survived more dire crisis than this. It is here to stay.

  • West Sider

    Regardless of the collapse scenario, it is moot, the Assembly is going to fall.

    I think nationalists have given up on the whole idea and it is typical of how politics plays out here.

    Unionists could have ensured their own survival way back in the day by appealing to the Catholic middle class and creating Catholic unionists.

    They didn’t.

    Unionists could have ensured Stormont ressurected c.1998 diluted and even dissolved nationalist aspirations.

    It was an open goal, but they couldn’t do it. At heart, Unionism seems a suicidal ideology, more concerned with closing off progress and servicing the mental illness that is sectarianism.

    Ten years and they’re done.

    Just as they ponder why they bust Sunningdale when the Anglo Irish Agreement was thrust on them, and just as they choke on their own bile when they accept that making the GFA work would have headed off a post-St Andrews Sinn Fein deputy first minister, in the months ahead they’ll rue the failure to make St Andrews work while they sit by and get sick observing how a patrician Tory government forces through joint authority and a SIS crack down on a resurgent unionist terrorist campaign.

    It’s the end of the road.

  • union mack

    that last paragraph is hilarious. really? lol

  • West Sider

    I find unionism hilarious, even with the violence, so I’ll share a lol with you.

  • tacapall

    however, my point is that SF could provide the leeway for a deal, by giving the DUP time to bring the hardline element on board.

    Some of your points are valid but the DUP could move on some other issues but they wont leaving Sinn Fein to conclude that theres no point in being in Government with them, and you’re right it does not suit Nationalism or Unionism for the Assembly to collapse, but its up to the DUP to show Nationalism that they are willing to share power.

  • danielmoran

    Garza msg 23 What SF are about is only to bring an early end to this electoral cycle and ending the present voting arithetic, knowing that the DUP have no chance of repeating their 8 seat majority. that will result in a fresh election, to a second assembly term with different voting share and likely SF at top of poll, not tearing down twelve years of work. This week will surely see Peter robinson out of DUP leadership post, and out of first ministers office, since Marty will refuse to nominate. End of electoral cycle.

  • union mack

    and SF has to show the rest they are willing to share power, like on the education issue. i’m no fan of theirs, but i do believe the DUP want powersharing to work, or they wouldn’t still be in there – they’d have let it collapse after the last stalemate. SF don’t have the same pressures either within the party or without, which leads me to the conclusion that they are more interested in achieving the tag of largest party than in making this thing work. i’m willing to be proven wrong

  • danielmoran

    Harry J. msg 8. No, you’re mistaken about the nth/sth bodies going if stormont goes. [anyway, it’s only THIS current Stormont term that will end next week. that will lead to election which will start a new electoral cycle] The North/south bodies are part of an International agreement[GFA] and as such are permanent in Int. Law therefore not dependent on assembly.

  • union mack

    daniel, the rule is that one cant function without the other, like when the UUP refused to send it’s ministers. it was no more than a talking shop

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    Anyone that thinks that the DUP were trying to make devolution work must have been looking at the stage from a very different angle than the rest of us (perhaps with eyes closed)

    Maybe that was the best they could do.

    Trials and tribulations are good for those of an immature construction.

    Sure its the hardship that makes one grow up

  • tacapall

    and SF has to show the rest they are willing to share power, like on the education issue. i’m no fan of theirs, but i do believe the DUP want powersharing to work, or they wouldn’t still be in there – they’d have let it collapse after the last stalemate.

    Im not a Sinn Fein voter myself but No child should have to be judged at age 11, but im open to other possibilities at a later age, as for the DUP wanting powersharing I do not believe this, it seems they are there, purely to thwart Sinn Fein at every turn, forcing them to do what they are now threatening in the mistaken belief that direct rule would suit them and Unionism better. But the Robinson affair has given them an opportunity to do that whilst not giving the impression its about P+J and like you said the jewel in the crown of being the largest party and first minister as that would put Unionism in a real dilemma, Unionism would then have to prove its bona fides about power sharing.

  • union mack

    i’m no more assured that SF tried to make it work than the DUP. are we not told that powersharing is the art of compromise? i didnt see much coming from their direction either

  • Driftwood

    I’m reluctant to agree with Comrade Stalin, but they really are going to set us aside. The incoming Tory administration might be unionist, but that is so far down the agenda to register.
    The Republic and the UK mainland are in the middle of the worst recession in a generation. The deficits are off the scale.
    The Whitehall subvention has cut us off from reality. Nobody outside our wee bubble gives a shit. Churchill’s ‘dreary steeples’ speech is spot on.
    We’re ‘Nobodys Child’. (Can’t remember who wrote it)

  • Eoin

    Can I just remind everyone who believes the collapse of Stormont would lead to direct rule: That is not the case.
    Joint Authority (BIIGC) is the agreed method of governance should stormont fall-
    So for unionists that feel sinn fein pulling out would lead to direct rule are mistaken.

    I ask you this:
    What do you prefer; A legislative assembly were unionists have control over local affairs, or Joint Authority where Dublin has 50% control?

    Yes that’s a Dail that wants to progress Irish re-unification..
    Think again before resorting to the old failsafe of Direct Rule.

    Dublin or Stormont?

  • Driftwood

    Eoin
    Nonsense. absolute nonsense.

    Sovereignty remains with HMG until a majority agree otherwise. Sorry to puncture your balloon, but it’s Westminster or Stormont.
    And even Stormont comes under Her Majesty’s remit.

    The Southern Irish government have a junior advisory role.
    As for them wanting re-unification, go back to your Lily Allen CD and keep revising for your (British) GCSE’s. Education is important.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Eoin:

    Joint Authority (BIIGC) is the agreed method of governance should stormont fall-

    Where does it say that ?

    And you still haven’t answered my question about why nationalists seem to think this is a good thing, when really it isn’t.

    What do you prefer; A legislative assembly were unionists have control over local affairs, or Joint Authority where Dublin has 50% control?

    Which would you prefer; a legislative assembly where Sinn Fein would have a veto; or joint authority where Sinn Fein have no veto, and indeed no way of stopping a hostile Dublin government from pulling the rug from beneath them ?

    Joint authority wouldn’t be good for unionists. But it wouldn’t be good for nationalists either. Dublin don’t really care that much about us – they’ve no reason to, since we’re not sending anyone to the Dail.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Eoin,

    Joint Authority (DUBLIN & LONDON) will preside over the 6 counties. The British Government WANT to see IRISH (GAELIGE) recognised in law, as European law dictates..

    Where does European law dictate that the Irish language be “recognized in law” any more than it is at present ? Why have nationalists not taken the British government to the European Court if EU law has been broken ?

    It would be the proposition of the Free State, and withouth opposition from Westminster, the Language Act would pass…

    Yes, so you’re expecting the Conservative government to deliver the Sinn Fein agenda. That’s utterly bizarre.

    Why would the Irish government want to antagonize unionists after all the work they have been putting in to build relationships with them ? If joint authority does happen, I doubt it will be green tinged, and while Dublin would act as a guarantor of equality/fairness/etc from a nationalist perspective, I doubt they would force through any of Sinn Fein’s pet initiatives.

    I have never, and shall never look to England for anything.

    Yes, you do. You just did. And Sinn Fein have – bizarrely – called in the past for the British to go over the head of the assembly and implement the ILA.

    Unionists are too stupid to realise the collapse of the assembly will result in Joint Authority, as the creation of the BIIGC stated in the GFA.

    The BIIGC already exists. It’s stretching things to call it joint authority.

  • JD

    “Yes that’s a Dail that wants to progress Irish re-unification..
    Think again before resorting to the old failsafe of Direct Rule.”

    Sinn Fein has 4 seats out of 166 and it would appear they would have their work cut out to retain that many at the next Dail election. Why would Fianna Fail, Fine Gael or Labour want more Sinn Fein TDs?

    Keeping the Stormont show on the road actually keeps Sinn fein focussed on the north and totally distracted from the south and as other threads on this site show is causing Sinn fein quite a bit of difficulty.

    While it is true the Tories did abolish Stormont in 1972 and sign the Anglo-Irish agreement in 1985, Cameron is likely to have a very slender majority.

    Sinn Fein has nowhere else to go, however renewed direct rule will only mean totally disinterested direct rule ministers and even worse public administration.

    For all the pie in the sky about joint authority, unity or direct rule there is precious little said on this thread about health care, jobs, investment and education. Whether Catholics outbreed Prods or mandatory coalition is abandoned there will still be a whole myriad of social problems facing people who face miserable lives or struggle to get by that will still have to be faced.

    As ever this is ignored by all sides.

  • Comrade Stalin

    JD,

    I don’t think joint authority is pie in the sky. What we end up with might not be called joint authority, it’ll be badged as something else, but it’s quite possible that Dublin will have a consultative/oversight role.

    What is pie in the sky is this idea that Dublin will move to act as an advocate for Sinn Fein’s shopping list, or that somehow Dublin will be pushing a nationalist agenda. I do not see why because:

    (a) Sinn Fein have no allies in the Dail, they only have enemies who are quite happy to destroy them as a political force. SDLP have no allies either, noting the collapse of the FF tieup;

    (b) The Irish government is not going to allow some kind of ideological commitment over, eg Irish language, to cause it to throw away all the good work that it has done forging a closer relationship with unionism

    (c) the Irish government is too busy with other things anyway, and it certainly doesn’t have the cash to help pay for any aspects of NI public spending. If it even tried to put money in NI there would be a massive outcry in the 26.

    “joint authority” will be largely benign. In the past, the argument for JA used to be that Dublin could be the guarantor to assure nationalists that there would be no return to discrimination in employment or housing, problems with the police, etc. Legislation, European law and the creation of institutions like the Police Board and Police Ombudsman make these arguments less compelling than they would have been before.

    That’s why I think that JA will be the unravelling of Sinn Fein, and why I think that SF do not want it (although they may threaten it to try to scare the unionists). SF want elections to clear the air and they want devolution reinstated, because they know that it is the only way they can hold power anywhere in Ireland and properly counterbalance the unionists without having to rely on a Conservative government to deliver.