Looking slightly ahead to the “impending” collapse..

Watch out for spin at this stage. In my view the pro Peter line being taken on the radio this morning may be an attempt to give Peter Robinson as dignified an exit as can be managed. If its not, they may have calculated that tonight’s Panorama is a re-run of Spotlight. I’m not so sure that’s an entirely wise calculation. But it’s hard to conjure with the future when almost everything coming at you unknown unknowns. If Peter goes, the word is Sinn Fein will collapse the Executive. It’s then down to the SoS and the NIO whether elections follow or it goes to suspension. There is absolutely no sign that either the Tories or the UU are focused on anything but the windfall benefits of get anything between 4 and 8 new seats… But the truth is, the whole shitty mess falls directly into their laps after all of this chaos… And at this point, they have formulated no plans on how to deal with… And this is now the point where the MSM’s serial misreporting of the Policing and Justice issue could come in very handy for Sinn Fein’s misleading spin on the matter…

  • martin r

    I think anyone shrewd should be keeping an eye on the car park outside Kells (Co Antrim) Costcutter.

    The future of Unionism could be settled there in a meeting between Jim Alister and Sir Reg while sharing a pastie and sausage roll apiece from the hot food counter.

    Mark my words!

  • Ulick

    “Watch out for spin at this stage.”

    Yes, we’re watching…

    “And this is now the point where the MSM’s serial misreporting of the Policing and Justice issue”

    We didn’t have to look to far…

    God Mick, the spinning you’ve been doing over the past four or five weeks has become very vulgar. At least have some balls and nail your colours to a mast were we can all see them.

  • Eleanor Bull

    ‘Watch out for spin at this stage.’

    Wasn’t that the ‘Iris hospitalised’ story?

    In my opinion it’s spin of its own, to create breathing space and calculate that DUP grandees and SF don’t move against Robbo today, by buying some sympathy and seeing what Panorama comes up with.

    In my view it was issued to buy time. In my view it was a cynical ploy.

    Am I wrong? Well, we were all under the impression she’d gone skiing, hopefully with a gaggle of time-wasting hacks in pursuit, yet the DUP or Robbo(?) issue a statement telling us exactly where she is and why.

    Why?

    Best option would have been to allow an ill woman some invisibility for a while, to recuperate and recover, and the Chamonix yarn was perfect cover, unchallenged by the meejah.

    So as far as spin goes, I think we can put the ‘Iris hospitalised’ press release right up there as an attempt to manipulate media, public and political opponents sympathy.

  • TAFKABO

    Eamon Mallie’s Twitter feed is essential reading at this very moment.

  • ding dong

    MAny a good thing came out of Kells – but few realise it

  • “the pro Peter line being taken on the radio this morning may be an attempt to give Peter Robinson as dignified an exit as can be managed.”

    Agreed.

    I suspect that Panorama, judging from the pre-publicity such as it is, will be a re-run of Spotlight with “subtitles” for those in Broadstairs, Carshalton, Edgbaston etc etc. However, Panorama has an audience of millions, so its broadcast is likely to considerably increase the pressure on/humilation of the DUP.

  • Eleanor Bull

    ‘MAny a good thing came out of Kells – but few realise it

    Posted by ding dong on Jan 11, 2010 @ 11:47 AM’

    Reminds me of the old saying ‘Heaven is seeing Derry in your rear view mirror’.

  • What is the real question that we’re being asked here?

    If the DUP changes it’s policies or splits in any way, how will the resulting electoral map look?

    Will the TUV become stronger, and in doing so, will the vote be further spilt to allow the UUP/Cons in a la Dromore? Will the resulting three-way-split result in a better SF/SDLP showing at the General Election? And will a recognition of this do anything to promote more unity within unionism?

    And how would the resulting unionist map vote in any subsequent assembly elections?

    To be honest, and with all due respect to weblog commenters, I’d be more interested in the bookies’ answers to these questions than what people kinda *want* to happen – it’s always hard to seperate what we want to happen and what we think *will* happen, innit?

    Annoyingly, I can’t find a betting market that is quoting odds on any of these elections in NI. The only slightly relevant one is over on Paddy Power:

    http://tinyurl.com/yh2zmmk

  • martin r

    Well I might not go that far, but surely these two men become the two main players in Unionism.

    The DUP situation is very, very, precarious. The TUV on one side and the UUP on the other have the potential, with a minimal amount of tweaking, to absorb a huge number of DUP supporters. Most of the DUP big hitters have to tough it out as they can’t shift, but the voters can.

    What is a politician without people voting for him?

  • Blair

    It seems to me that huge frenzy has been built up over nothing. What is Peter Robinson accused of? I would submit that he has done nothing wrong.

    Now consider what happens if he is forced to stand down. Very possibly we could be looking at the collapse of the Assembly and a political vacuum in which the dissident cave dwellers could begin to flourish. Do you seriously think that will be allowed to happen?

    Robinson is a shrewd operator. If he thinks he can fight his way out of this then he most probably will.

  • Albert

    Senior DUP members are standing by their man.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/8450854.stm

    It’s not over until the fat lady sings.

  • martin r

    Sorry, “or her?”

  • villager

    The betting is interesting Paul, informed opinion says Nigel doesn’t want to be FM, but Paddy Power has him at 2/5 on with Arlene at 5/1 and Sammy at 4’s.

  • Eleanor Bull

    “Robinson is a shrewd operator. If he thinks he can fight his way out of this then he most probably will.”

    At this moment I agree, Blair, that this is Robbo’s gut instinct, and agree that at this point his only ‘wrongdoing’ appears to be not to have informed certain authorities regarding the ministerial code. Sick wife…it’s an oversight, and hardly a hanging (or collapsing) matter.

    I think the ‘Iris hospitalised’ press release goes some distance to letting us know that there’s two course on his mind. 1. ‘Spend more time with my family and step down’ route or 2. Buy more time by trying to elicit public sympathy and support for his wife, and to outflank the Sinners, who may not be minded to attack a man whose wife is hospitalised. I’m of the view that option 2 is the route he’s taking, but also minded that the issuing of the press release regarding her whereabouts and state of mind is cynical spin. Why couldn’t we have all laboured under the impression she was in Chamonix, invisible to the world? Why was that statement released?

    ‘Iris hospitalised’ is merely a wagon-circling exercise. He’s bought 24 hours, maybe more if Panorama just re-runs Spotlight.

  • I remain unconvinced that SF would actually let it get to a stage where they’d actually call an election. At this stage I suspect they’re just using circumstances to their own advantage.

    Here’s a thought: why not trade off the “largest designation gets FM” for P&J. It hasn’t exactly served it’s purpose in scaremongering unionists into voting DUP for ever and ever and ever. From a republican point of view good luck finind a unionist mad enough to take up DFM: unless of course Lord Trimble’s planning a return to Stormont.

  • Blair

    Ellie,

    He is fighting back and he is getting support from his party in doing so. Reports of his demise have been greatly exagerrated.

    As to the release of the fact that his wife is in hospital receiving treatment for her serious mental illness. I would suggest that it was exactly because of the malicious rumours that she was away on a skiing holiday which led to the release.

    A lot of people have been talking a lot of shite about this issue since it broke. The attacks over the weekend by his political enemies can only have concentrated DUP minds on keeping him in his job. His enemies hate him precisely because he is so effective at his job.

  • Eleanor Bull

    “Paddy Power has him at 2/5 on with Arlene at 5/1 and Sammy at 4’s. ”

    I’m rather more interested in what odds the organising committee of the African Nations Cup (an Asian betting syndicate) are offering on tonight’s Mozambique-Benin match.

    Togo doing the hokey-cokey…out…in…out…and Mali staging an 11 minute comeback from 4-0 down to earn a draw?

    Come back to me with the odds you can get on 5-5 from a man in Shanghai, will you?

  • villager

    That`might be for another thread Eleanor!

  • Eleanor Bull

    “I would suggest that it was exactly because of the malicious rumours that she was away on a skiing holiday which led to the release.”

    I’m not sure how skiing is a malicious rumour, Blair. Same resort Elin Woods went to, apparently. Seems perfectly reasonable that she would go where she’s not known, to escape the rabid toothless puppies of the NI media.

    Perfectly fine. Perfectly sensible.

    She just disappears for a week, or a fortnight. By the time she comes back, it’s all chip wrapping. We know it’s chip wrapping. In a fortnight Suzanne Breen will be back on Uncle Gerry’s case. We know this.

    Apart from occasional references a la Sammy Wilson’s holidaying (which he bore with remarkable good grace), the story is dead.

    So it’s for that reason I have my suspicions about the motives for releasing the story regarding her whereabouts. It’s option 2. Robbo’s buying time with it. A calculated risk, but I’m now of the opinion that he intends to tough this one out if he can, particularly since the allegations against HIM are so flimsy as to be laughable at this time.

  • She just disappears for a week, or a fortnight. By the time she comes back, it’s all chip wrapping. We know it’s chip wrapping. In a fortnight Suzanne Breen will be back on Uncle Gerry’s case. We know this.

    Bollucks!

  • Cynic2

    The allegations dont matter. It’s the ridicule that counts.

  • There is natural justice in the downfall of the Swish Family Robinson.

    more here

    http://www.organizedrage.com/2010/01/there-is-natural-justice-in-downfall-of.html

  • Eleanor Bull

    “Bollucks!”

    What is?

    If you disagree with my view, it might be better to outline why you disagree with it.

  • Mick,

    “And this is now the point where the MSM’s serial misreporting of the Policing and Justice issue could come in very handy for Sinn Fein’s misleading spin on the matter”

    The fact that the DUP had managed to only sign up to target date and not a deadline as SF liked to pretend is only relevant as long as the British (and Southern) government are going to respect that negotiating achievment and not punish Unionism for non movment on SFs terms.

    SF clearly took a gamble on this when they signed up to the STA and the electoral difficulties from the pressure from the TUV and the current Robinson crisis have played into their hands. Unionists need to hope that the incoming Tory government will reverse the trend of recent times of seeking to plactate Nationalism and give equal consideration to Unionist requirements.

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    Cynic2 said

    “21.The allegations dont matter. It’s the ridicule that counts.”

    Ridicule is quare hard to counteract

  • Eleanor Bull

    “Unionists need to hope that the incoming Tory government will reverse the trend of recent times of seeking to plactate Nationalism and give equal consideration to Unionist requirements.”

    Here’s a thought: Unionism and Nationalism could grow up, act like adults and conclude that P&J really doesn’t matter to a population now jaded enough to understand that people in Stormont shouldn’t be allowed to play with kitchen knives.

    They could, in fact, give the impression of knowing what they’re doing without squealing like we’ans with a cut knee running to Mummy in Westminster or the Dail every time.

  • One thing that any smart bookie would be looking at in setting the odds is the question of personal incentives.

    If Robbo were to go and the assembly were to collapse, how many people-with-mortgages would find it harder to pay those mortgages – and how many of them have a say in what will happen over the next few days?

  • Kensei

    Here’s a thought: Unionism and Nationalism could grow up, act like adults and conclude that P&J really doesn’t matter to a population now jaded enough to understand that people in Stormont shouldn’t be allowed to play with kitchen knives.

    Except a (slim) majority of Catholics were in favour of collapsing the Assembly over it. But hey, don’t let the facts get in the way of the rant

  • Lionel Hutz

    Radio ulster disagree, they think peter will fight!

  • Eleanor Bull,

    with due respect that metaphor has been rather played out and this is a very grown up matter which is heading for arbitration which is exactly where adults in many walks of life, including Nations take their intractable problems and hopefully Unionism (this time) will be given a fair hearing.

  • Cynic2

    “how many people-with-mortgages would find it harder to pay those mortgages”

    about 108 but in the past the Government always made it easier by paying them for petulance. It was an early for of the bank lifeboat / NAMA

  • Sammy Morse

    I suspect they’re just using circumstances to their own advantage.

    SF were close to walking before either the Robinson or the Adams scandal broke.

  • OscarTheGrouch

    Frankly I don’t care how it plays out as long as some sort of political activity remains. Democrats have had to swallow all sorts of crap from the God-botherers and the sudent union revolutionaries in order to stop them from excercising their clear belief that we are worth dying for their ‘principles’.

    Whatever happens hopefully it will be enough to keep these amateur admiinistrators ungainfully employed and off the streets – preferrably with some of the powers curtailed!

  • Eleanor Bull

    ‘Except a (slim) majority of Catholics were in favour of collapsing the Assembly over it. But hey, don’t let the facts get in the way of the rant

    Posted by Kensei on Jan 11, 2010 @ 01:04 PM’

    Expecting ‘leaders’ to act like leaders is hardly a rant, is it?

    We’ve had this time and time again, where it’s all a case of spitting the dummy over every damned thing. Perhaps they need to address P&J a tad more seriously, rather than posturing around it all the time. I don’t see any of them doing anything else other than playing with it.

    It’s a far from perfect Assembly, but it beats dead bodies, and the idea that they blow it all over one issue (however important they regard it) simply creates a vacuum for others less inclined for democracy to step into.