Peter survives and pledges to try to deliver J&P by year end

I was no better a prophet than Mick, though I’m glad Peter bowed to the inevitable and asked for standards inquiries himself, rather than wait for a complaint to be made against him. So the DUP and Sinn Fein have looked into the abyss and stepped back from the brink. It feels like a remarkable turnround.The doomsday atmosphere seems to have lightened already. Had the party sacked Peter as ruthlessly as they dumped Iris, they would have looked panicky fools dancing to Jim Allister’s tune. Gregory turned round and suddenly found no one was willing to follow him over the cliff.. Equally the Sinn Fein bullet has not been fired – yet. It might have even come as a relief to them that they didn’t need to respond to the nomination of a new DUP FM. A meanly opportunist Sinn Fein would have looked as petty as a panicky DUP. So well done guys, you didn’t f*** it up altogether! Let’s be honest, the whole of the media looked a bit panicky too, though mainly taking their cue from the politicians, not the other way round as the politicians love to claim. The J&P deadlock of course remains but judging from Gerry Kelly’s interview after Arlene Foster’s statement, they don’t know how to respond yet. Peter keeping the J&P and the main political brief is a bold even defiant stroke. It emphasises party unity and makes no new waves. But what’s the course to steer? The most important thing today was said by Peter at the end of his statement standing aside ( below the fold)..

“Throughout this period I will continue to work on the outstanding issues relating to policing and justice and some other matters. This allows a particularly concentrated focus on these discussions and we will work to try to build on the agreements we have already reached so that a successful resolution can be reached.
This is the year to deliver at Stormont for all the people of Northern Ireland.”

If the parties seize their chance so bizarrely presented by the Robinson crisis, they could capitalise on the easing of tension and make new weather to complete the devolution package by the end of the year. There are several big leaps across wide chasms ahead. The process entails a flexible timetable, meaning after the Westminster election at the earliest. The questions tumble in – would that be enough for Sinn Fein’s “very soon”? And can a wounded Peter, though up for the fight, deliver? Over to you, British and Irish governments, to lay it on thick.

  • villager

    If the DUP want to get rid of Robinson, today might have been their only chance. They might have been able to bounce Sinn Fein into renominating, that won’t be so easy when the dust settles.

  • “Complete the devolution package by the end of the year.”

    Unbelievable!

    What happens 11 months on if some other bigot gets caught with their draws around their ankles, will nationalists have to wait for another year.

    Maintaining the status quo at any cost is what this whole discredited process has been about.

  • Paul

    I think it has being a good day for the DUP and peter and all who want to see the assembly work the sinners have being made to look rather silly.Who thought they had got there excuse to wreck the assembly.If they the sinners want to wreck it let them the big cry babies.

  • joeCanuck

    If the DUP take a severe licking at the Westminster elections, what will that do for their credibility at Stomont and thus their ability to deliver anything?
    The writing is on the wall – will rats desert the sinking ship?

  • Kensei

    Brian

    “Complete the devolution package by the end of the year.”

    As Mick has indicated, “devolution is just around the corner” has been played out a bit too long. Some kind of cast iron timetable might manage to spin it to that, but I’d guess this is a brief pause, and if there is no progress tension will rattle up again within the next six weeks.

    An Assembly election concurrent with the Westminster one is probably SFs favoured option if they want to collapse it – saves money, maximises turnout.

  • Who or rather how do the DUP judge the confidence of the public with respect to P&J Nigel Dodds used the mantra again on Radio Ulster, if thier so concerned about public confidence, Peter & Iris Robinson would have been well gone, how can anyone have confidence in the DUP when thier only concern is the preservation of the party over the government !

  • Harry J

    until the pedo-protectors in sinn fein are removed there can be no delivery of P+J

  • And your in the negotiations on P& J Harry J, anymore pearls of wisdom you could offer, maybe this fridays lottery numbers.

  • Harry J

    yes, without a deal on parades and education the whole thing is sunk.

  • tacapall

    #

    yes, without a deal on parades and education the whole thing is sunk.
    Posted by Harry J on Jan 11, 2010 @ 05:44 PM

    Of course Harry you’re welcome to march up and down the Falls Road tomorrow if you want, and if you want your child to be be judged a dunce at 11, go ahead.

  • Macanna

    Paul, are you actually following what is going on at stormont at all? I mean could you explain how sinn fein are trying to wreck stormont.

  • Paul

    #

    If the DUP take a severe licking at the Westminster elections, what will that do for their credibility at Stomont and thus their ability to deliver anything?
    The writing is on the wall – will rats desert the sinking ship?
    Posted by joeCanuck on Jan 11, 2010 @ 05:30 PM

    your silence on GA is deafening.you call for peter to step down which he has but joe you declinded my question wether GA should step down why is that.??

  • Paul

    Sinn fein have threatened to wreck the assembly by xmas where have you being if no date was agreed.So i suggest you catch yourself on

  • joeCanuck

    Paul,
    I did not call for Robinson to step down.
    As regards Adams, I do believe he has questions to answer but I haven’t seen him accused of criminality.
    They will both have to answer to their constituents and their broader electorates.
    I think Robinson will suffer more electorally but in the dearth of political polls in N.I., that’s simply a guess.

  • Paul

    #

    Paul, are you actually following what is going on at stormont at all? I mean could you explain how sinn fein are trying to wreck stormont.
    Posted by Macanna on Jan 11, 2010 @ 05:53 PM

    #

    Sinn fein have threatened to wreck the assembly and walk away if P and J wasnt sorted by xmas where have you being if no date was agreed.So i suggest you catch yourself on
    Posted by Paul on Jan 11, 2010 @ 05:58 PM

  • “I was no better a prophet than Mick”

    Well there were only 3 options, go or stay or temporarily stand aside. I thought standing aside would not be bought by the rest of the party and seems to only make sense if he is preparing a deal with SF otherwise if he’s not going to do a deal then being half in and half out of the leadership does not look like good electoral sense. It is also an inidicator of quite a healthy party and it is must therefore be assumed that Panorama is simply a rehash of Spotlight but with mainland accents.

    If he suvives the enquiry and pulls off a deal with SF, which must still look unlikely, there will be a lot of words eaten by a lot of commnentators and political enemies.

  • Paul

    #

    Paul,
    I did not call for Robinson to step down.
    As regards Adams, I do believe he has questions to answer but I haven’t seen him accused of criminality.
    They will both have to answer to their constituents and their broader electorates.
    I think Robinson will suffer more electorally but in the dearth of political polls in N.I., that’s simply a guess.
    Posted by joeCanuck on Jan 11, 2010 @ 05:58 PM

    I have a copy of your post where you called for peter to step down on a temp basis I will post it if need be he has done just that and stepped down i asked you in the post if both should go yet you declined to aswer do you think adams should step down.??.you say you are not a sinn fein and GA fan I firmly beleive in my opinion you are a big sinn fein and GA supporter thats my opinion and my opinion alone wont change.

  • joeCanuck

    Paul,

    I don’t care what you think. I know myself; do you know yourself?
    BTW, you have been making extreme efforts to conflate these two stories for the past 5 days. That’s a bit silly. They are two completely unconnected stories.

  • BryanS

    As a moderate unionist I do not understand what the problem is with devolving policing and Justice. Can someone explain to me in moderate terms why DUP are stalling?

  • joeCanuck

    BryanS,

    The moderate simple answer is 4 words: Fear of Jim Allister.

  • wild turkey

    ‘The writing is on the wall – will rats desert the sinking ship? ‘

    JoeCannuck.
    actually the ship will desert the sinking rats.

    the edifice of the stormont farce will collapse this year in large measure because the rats would rather float in the gravy dish rather than effecively navigatge the ship of state.

  • Garza

    Bryan

    Its all about keeping political power. They do not want to give the TUV any leeway in the coming elections, so they are acting tough with SF.
    P&J will be devolved eventually.

    The DUP value power over progress or the people.

  • Eleanor Bull

    ‘Can someone explain to me in moderate terms why DUP are stalling?’

    The notion that Sinn Fein would in theory have some input on the same people they spent decades killing. The DUP don’t think they’re ‘clean’ enough…yet. So the thing’s drawn out in a sort of political quarantine period.

    You can stick all sorts of excuses, caveats, ifs and buts onto that simple, and maybe over simple, definition, but that’s the cause of the impasse in a nutshell.

  • Brian Walker @ 05:00 PM says:

    Let’s be honest, the whole of the media looked a bit panicky too, though mainly taking their cue from the politicians, not the other way round as the politicians love to claim.

    Mick Fealty @ 04:26 PM says:

    That was as neat a trick as I’ve seen in a while. It has to have been pretty well prepared in advance.

    Which seem to be mutually contradictory.

    I admit to being further away from the action than either, and to have cruder tendrils, but I feel the latter take is the more valid.

    I looked, for example, at Gerry Moriarty and Dan Keenan, headlining today’s Irish Times (admittedly, the “International Edition” we get in London):

    The British and Irish governments are maintaining high-level contacts to ensure the personal and political crisis affecting the Robinson family and the DUP does not collapse the Stormont powersharing administration.

    Therein I recognised that, whatever was with the headless chickens of Stormont, it was cooler heads to hot telephones elsewhere. Clearly, it has worked: everyone of significance (so far) has been kept within the loop and “on side”. Woodward obviously played blocker centre back (and now, I see, is off to compare notes with Micheál Martin).

    Surely, though, the understatement of the day is the punchline in that same Irish Times report:

    Mr Robinson could take some comfort that were no further revelations in yesterday’s Sunday papers about his financial dealings.

  • BryanS

    Garza
    ‘so they are acting tough with SF.’

    The are not doing themselves or the assembly any favours as the longer this impasse goes on the more people will understand how useless the assembly is at governing.

  • GFASupporterButRealist

    Early days yet. Let’s see what the Panorama programme produces — or not. And what the “independent” inquiry produces — or not (and the remit of the senior counsel may be drawn narrowly, to suit Robinson). Once the dust settles in the next week or so then we will see how stable this whole shakey executive and assembly really are. Much early to judge that Robinson is out of the woods yet. SF will not be easing up on demands on P & J and there are circumstances in which they could collapse the whole enterprise and not be penalised by their voters. What looks like a cunning move by Robinson and the DUP may not look so clever in a matter of days. A high stakes gamble by Robbo. If more emerges on the financial dealings front then the gamble could go against Robbo. Regardless, with any election either at Westminster or Stormont, the DUP will lose seats to the TUV and UUs.

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    Is Iris Robinson getting “cute” psychiatric treatment or acute.

  • west belfast

    Hard to read this one at the moment. It was quite clever by the DUP, certainly in the short term.

    However the real problem has not been resolved. SF likely to have their Ard Chomhairle next weekend – if their is no movement on P&J then I believe that should be that.

    Mark Devenport saying one view is that the DUP may go for devolution – sounds like DUP spin to calm the Shinners.

    By the way Harry J – your political insight is laughable. Parades is already a done deal – you will get the Parades Commission replaced by the The Commission on Parading!! As for education – a senior trade unionist said to me one time that the DUP sold out the unionist working classes for the votes of 30 state grammar school parents. When will unionism realise that the only children being failed by selection are Protestant working classes.

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    With this sudden interest in devolving policing and justice from the DUP is’nt it correct to ask was somebody holding Peter Robinson to ransom on the issue.

    Now that certain “issues” are out in the open the DUP are keen to get on with devolving policing and justice !

  • Paul

    #

    Paul,

    I don’t care what you think. I know myself; do you know yourself?
    BTW, you have been making extreme efforts to conflate these two stories for the past 5 days. That’s a bit silly. They are two completely unconnected stories.
    Posted by joeCanuck on Jan 11, 2010 @ 06:09 PM

    I couldnt care less either what you say members of the public watching our exchanges.Will see its clear you cannot bring yourself to call for gerry adams whos told blantant untruths in a child abuse scandal and is in s full swing cover up about it which is far far worse than peters case You call for peter to stand down he has yet you cant bring yourself to call for adams to stand down.you are unbeleivable.My opinion is you are sinner through and through thats very clear.

  • Paul

    They are two completely unconnected stories.
    Posted by joeCanuck on Jan 11, 2010 @ 06:09 PM

    Yes one is child abuse the other finacial which is worse.??????

  • OscarTheGrouch

    Robbo calling for the enquiries is very interesting, unless he felt it was the last chance saloon hw would have tried to stick with the internal ‘investigation’.

    By the way can anyone understand how he cannot be found in breach of the various ministerial promises? Is he seriously denying that he did not know of any breach of the declarations rules – not by him but another MP/MLA? Surely knowing that there is a breach and not reporting it is against the ‘highest standards’? He did know – thats clear now isnt it?

    Can he dodge the bullet because although he knew of a breach, because it wasn’t him, he is not responsible? Doesn’t sound like the highest standard to me…. bet if he had found out that Jim McAllister had been fiddling the tea money he would have felt it his moral responsibility….

  • Brian MacAodh

    if GA left, who would be the head honcho in SF besides McGuinness? Kelly?

  • joeCanuck

    Paul,

    I think you have been around here only for a few weeks; regulars well know my opinions of G.A. and SF.
    This story is not about me. You are on the wrong thread. You really need to go back to Pete’s thread on Adams. You are slipping since you have only contributed 10% of the comments there. People are probably eagerly awaiting more of the same from you there.

  • Paul as a sinner do you think joeCanuck could get the same forgiveness Iris got, maybe Harry could get him the direct line tel’ number that she used.

    The whole assembly is like an elastic band stretch it too much and it snaps, hold onto yer hats as it’s reaching breaking point !

  • joeCanuck

    Moderator,

    It might help to get this thread back on track if the exchanges between Paul and myself were deleted. It wouldn’t be censorship since anyone remotely interested in them will have read them already.

  • The Raven

    Paul, your mantra – though worthy – is perhaps best placed elsewhere. Maybe you could drop a few lines to some of the press to get it re-kindled, or something generally more productive?

  • Quagmire

    The DUP have 1 week tops. No date for devolution = No Stormont. Simples!

  • Harry J

    bet if he had found out that Jim McAllister had been fiddling the tea money he would have felt it his moral responsibility….
    Posted by OscarTheGrouch on Jan 11, 2010 @ 06:58 PM

    What did Jim do with the funds let over from his flights to brussels
    (approx 30 flights a year paid at approx £1000) x 5 years = ££££££££££££££££££££££££££££33

    you can get to brussels for £269 !!!

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    Maybe Jim Allister was flying the long way around the Globe.

    He is the kind of guy that ends up with the wrong end of the stick.

  • wild turkey

    ‘Yes one is child abuse the other finacial which is worse.?????? ‘

    Paul, your spelling detracts from the clarity and coherence of your argument.

    ‘finacial’? are you discussing matters financial or facial? depending on the milieu, both have potential abusive implications.

    Perhaps, you are aware of some personal background kinks to the Spotlight story? If so, enlighten us.

  • Lionel Hutz

    well, what does everyone think the implications of the panorama program are?

    I await the British Mainland reaction to a corruption scandal involving two MPs. Will Westminster be forced to investigate this! I think so.

    Also, it does seem like the Robinsons have pocketed £10,000

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    Amazing how quickly confidence (for the devolution of policing and justice) in the Unionist community can be achieved when the DUP is deep in the brown stuff

  • Harry J

    #

    Amazing how quickly confidence (for the devolution of policing and justice) in the Unionist community can be achieved when the DUP is deep in the brown stuff
    Posted by Panic, these ones like it up em. on Jan 11, 2010 @ 09:10 PM

    I wouldnt get your hopes up just yet

  • OscarTheGrouch

    Nothing really new I guess just the statement about the ‘loan’ from Ken Campbell, and the re statement of the point that if Robbo knew about the deal he had a duty to report that.

    I still don’t know how that can be denied? unless it comes down to Blacks word vs Robinsons AND that Iris’s text was delusional when it mentions Peter and is not admissable.

    Surely no-one going to buy the ‘I didn’t know’ line, and if he picks some way through the ministerial code through spinning the legaleese only his die hard supporters will buy that?

    As for P&J – if they cough up this all of a sudden will the electorate really ignore this as an obvious buy off??

    Mind you it is Norn Irn…. I used to say to folks (outside NI) that the Shinners and DUP’s only represented the fruit loop minorities…shows you what I know!

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    Harry J said

    “I wouldnt get your hopes up just yet”

    So the Dup can’t or won’t deliver.

    Not much point dealing with a party that cannot be trusted or capable of making a deal.
    Are you saying that the Dup are saying just about anything now to buy some time.

    Just how desperate are they ?

  • Lionel Hutz

    Oscar,

    The problem with the MInisterial code is that it is a bit flowery. It reads more like principles than hard and fast rules. However, from my reading of other disciplinaries, it does seem that the principles are to be given a broad interpretation. It is about integrity, and any doubt in that can result in a slap on the wrist.

  • URQUHARTv2.0

    I think Brian is jumping the gun with his analysis that everything’s ok. To my mind the Robinson story, while interesting, was a distraction. The fundamental problem – that SF need devolution of P&J and that DUP can’t deliver it this side of an Assembly election hasn’t gone away and if anything has got worse.

    I’m still betting on joint Assembly / Westminster elections.

  • OscarTheGrouch

    Mmm, I know from experience these things are kinda wooly, but from having read them its pretty clear that if he knew about the deal, and it seems he did, he is certainly in breach of the ‘public over private’ clause and the ‘….and of your partner’ clause of the Westminster code.

    I think its hard to see how he wriggles out of it, but then again, good old NI politics eh? Might be worth a flutter….

  • JD


    The fundamental problem – that SF need devolution of P&J and that DUP can’t deliver it this side of an Assembly election hasn’t gone away and if anything has got worse.

    I’m still betting on joint Assembly / Westminster elections”.

    They both need to show their voters that “they stood up to the other side”. Like all the main parties they’ll prefare joint Assembly / Westminster elections as the cost of two separate campaigns will cripple their respective finances.

  • OscarTheGrouch

    On reflection, maybe he’s just playing for a muddied water solution, were we get conflicting legal opinion, and a ‘perhaps a technical’ breach, but because of his wifes medical condition…. etc.

  • Macanna

    Sorry Paul , could you show me a link to show that sinn fein were going to collapse the assembly if a date wasn’t agreed by christmas. All I could find was MmcG saying that “I have to say if it slips past Christmas we are in deep trouble.” As I see it , not quite the same thing.

  • An Lorgain

    Peter looks sick and pale in this photo……..

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

  • OscarTheGrouch

    Not as sick as the Rev looked when he was standing behind Dodds when he gave the we’re all behind our Pete speech earlier.

    He was like a bloodhound chewing a wasp.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Oscar, it would appear that there already is conflicting legal opinion. I doubt very much that the beeb would have asserted a breach without advice while the DSO appear to back Robinson. This is the difficulty with suggesting Counsels opinion can provide a exoneration. Tough as it is to say but Jim Alistaur is right on this one, I suppose he should know.

    Counsel can only give advice on the basis of their instructions. The merits or otherwise of the proposition put to them will be laid out. No wise barrister would go further then than to provide an educated guess, an opinion. They can at the end of the day only be guided by the rules, precedent and experience, but you learn something new every day.

  • 0b101010

    Amazing how quickly confidence (for the devolution of policing and justice) in the Unionist community can be achieved when the DUP is deep in the brown stuff

    This.