Thoughts on Policing and Justice

There has been a great amount of ink spilt in explaining the advantages and indeed the necessity of devolving policing and justice to the assembly and it seems that slowly but surely the DUP are moving towards it, though in the last couple of days I have begum to wonder; something I will return to at the end. There are arguments in favour of P&J devolution: however, there are also arguments against it both as a practical concept and also specific arguments against the DUP accepting it.Shaun Woodward has repeatedly referred to P&J devolution as somehow “completing devolution.” This is of course a specious comment. P&J is a devolved matter in Scotland but not in Wales. Scotland unlike Wales, England or Northern Ireland has a separate justice system in both civil and criminal law. As such to have devolution in Scotland but not to include P&J would be a complete nonsense; it would require a justice minister for Scotland to sit in Westminster whilst the other Scottish ministers sat in Holyrood. Wales of course has no separate justice ministry and since its legal system is the same as England’s it has no need of a policing and justice minister. Despite this there is no suggestion that Welsh devolution is somehow incomplete. Northern Ireland shares the English and Welsh justice system and hence, unlike in Scotland, there is no need for a policing and justice minister. Northern Ireland is in this context the same as Wales and different from Scotland: to claim that Northern Ireland’s devolution is incomplete whilst saying that Wales’s is complete is a logical nonsense.

One of the arguments proffered for P&J devolution is that it would make the police more locally accountable. However, we already have local policing partnerships and the operational control of policing has been specifically excluded from a putative devolved minister. As such the suggestion made that devolution will make the PSNI into a more effective local community force seems extremely unlikely. In addition Matt Baggott has already dismissed the calls by the likes of Jeffrey Donaldson to keep the full time reserve. It seems quite clear that Baggott intends to peruse his own agenda, as illustrated by the dismissal of Donaldson and in addition certain operational decisions such as the insistence on not using army transport to take police officers to the scene of the Forkhill bomb. A police commander who seems unwilling to allow the safety of his officers to override his own agenda is hardly an individual who can be expected to accept any form of advice from local politicians. Of course if by chance Baggott was willing to listen to politicians he would then also have to listen to republicans as well as unionists which would make unionists pause before advocating increased political involvement in operational decisions.

Turning to the political timing of P&J devolution the DUP would be most foolish to devolve now. The DUP has just passed a low ebb: the Iris Robinson affair rocked them quite significantly. However, although Peter Robinson was damaged and for a time it looked as if he might flounder, he now seems to be becoming more secure. The public mood often bounces back and it looks as if Peter Robinson is gaining increasing sympathy. Clearly further revelations of any impropriety on his part would damage him severely (probably fatally) but at the moment he looks, as at the beginning of the crisis, more a man wronged than one who committed wrong. Many in the mainstream media fail to understand the unionist electorate but it looks increasing like Robinson is on his way back up.

Despite the above unionist confidence has suffered a knock over the Iris affair: the DUP which seemed to have the match of Sinn Fein in Stormont was shown to have at least one foot made of clay. At the moment if the DUP accept P&J it will be seen in the context of Robinson’s and the DUP’s still relative weakness. A deal done in weakness will almost certainly be seen as a defeat for unionism, the more so because of the way in which the DUP previously out manoeuvred Sinn Fein time and again over P&J devolution. Whatever the result of any negotiations concessions on parading, personal protection weapons and even the full time reserve will look suspiciously like a fig leaf to cover the DUP’s defeat. Furthermore if the DUP give way over P&J they will be in a much weakened position to resist the next set of republican demands be they on the Irish language Act or the shrine or whatever. If the DUP accept P&J devolution without quite massive concessions from Sinn Fein (something like SF accepting a binding timetable for voluntary coalition), it will appear that the momentum will have shifted decisively in Sinn Fein’s direction.

Whilst the Iris Robinson affair will still have some currency at election time, it will have begun to wane. However, if the DUP do a deal on P&J, that will almost certainly have a much greater political effect. As such although doing a deal on P&J may buy the DUP some time prior to an election, it will probably make the inevitable Westminster election even more uncomfortable for them. The DUP might well be advised to have the Stormont election now rather than do a deal giving the TUV and UUP two sticks with which to beat them: namely Irisgate and a sell out over P&J. Furthermore a P&J deal would almost certainly result in a further leakage of councillors and possibly most seriously a loss of activists willing to canvass, put up posters etc. in an election year.

To come back to my suggestion that the DUP are not necessarily about to devolve P&J it is just possible that Peter Robinson is spinning out the negotiating process until such time as the assembly election can be swallowed up by the Westminster election. That would allow him to have both elections on the same day which would allow the DUP to resurrect the danger of a Sinn Fein first minister as a realistic bogeyman to maximise the DUP vote, an effect which would then most likely affect both elections. Even better if Robinson could stall the assembly election until after the Westminster elections, it is possible that he could have strengthened his position by demonstrating limited slippage of the DUP vote at Westminster: a chance enhanced by not surrendering on P&J.

All these tactical opportunities have to be considered by Peter Robinson who has bought himself a most useful breathing space, the more useful as Gerry Adams is embroiled in further scandals. Mick suggested a similar thought last week and it is beginning to look possible that he could yet call SF’s bluff. If he did he could go into elections in a much stronger position than he is now. The problem is that he has to convince his assembly party to take a risk of them fighting and quite a number receiving their P45s. Robinson just might have the nerve to do it but I am doubtful whether his minions have.

  • joeCanuck

    Turgon,
    Couple of points. First, the date of an Assembly election is not in Robinson’s hands. Second, I don’t believe there will be another Assembly election without fairly detailed negotiations and revisions to GFA/SAA agreements. That would take months, more likely a year. Perhaps even years.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Turgon,

    Scotland unlike Wales, England or Northern Ireland has a separate justice system in both civil and criminal law.

    I’m sure this isn’t true, Turgon. We have our own set of courts and laws which are operated independently of the system in England and Wales. We’re not subject to the machinations of the Home Office and we’ve always had our own security minister under direct rule.

    I’d be willing to stand corrected, however.

  • tacapall

    Northern Ireland is in this context the same as Wales and different from Scotland: to claim that Northern Ireland’s devolution is incomplete whilst saying that Wales’s is complete is a logical nonsense.
    Turgon @ 07:13 PM

    Why was it ok to be devolved here at the old Unionist dominated stormont, they (British) are mearly giving back what they took away years ago from Unionists.

    Of course if by chance Baggott was willing to listen to politicians he would then also have to listen to republicans as well as unionists which would make unionists pause before advocating increased political involvement in operational decisions.
    Turgon @ 07:13 PM

    could you eloborate more on this, why would this make unionist pause

    Whatever the result of any negotiations concessions on parading, personal protection weapons and even the full time reserve will look suspiciously like a fig leaf to cover the DUP’s defeat.
    Turgon @ 07:13 PM

    I believe the issue of parading has been lost for Unionism i.e.

    If the people of the newtownards road did not want a republican parade marching down it, they would not be marching down it, same as the pro union people of the UK when they banned the “Islam4UK”

    Unionist politicians are vocal in their opposition when an ‘insensitive & offensive’ parade is planned for Wootton Bassett yet find it acceptable for the Apprentice boys to be led by a UVF band named after sectarian murderer Brian Robinson, to pass the spot where he murdered his victim.
    Posted by Stewart on Jan 16, 2010 @ 09:53 PM

    You should be asking “What is the real reason Unionist dont want Policing and Justice devolved.

  • tacapall

    #

    When residents expressly state they do not want a march to pass through their street, no march takes place and nobody has any reason or right to object to the residents’ decision.
    Posted by anne warren on Jan 16, 2010 @ 10:18 PM

    “Thats Equality”

  • Turgon,

    “Shaun Woodward has repeatedly referred to P&J devolution as somehow “completing devolution.” This is of course a specious comment. P&J is a devolved matter in Scotland but not in Wales. ”

    Is this not because it was initally signalled as suitable for devolution in the original GFA legislation in the list of matters to be devolved. In that sense it would be completing devolution? The reason it was included then of course is because that was part of the price to buy off the PIRA as was prisoner release.

    Another interesting element to the current negotiations is the (forlorn?) hope that the connection between the UUP and the Tory party might work in the interests of Unionism. From one Unionist perspective, it is arguably the opposite with the UUP no doubt being ‘encouraged’ to toe the DUP line on any deal by their new ‘Unionist’ friends. This is something that Allister will try to highlight just as he is making an issue out of Ken Clarke’s regrets regarding the Home Rule bill on question time.

    http://www.tuv.org.uk/press-releases/view/471/tory-commitment-to-the-union-questioned

    But Unionists can complain as much as we like, the fact is that the British government has it heart set of the devolution of Police and Justice on Republican terms, which they have clearly promised and Unionism tactically needs to swallow hard, make the deal and unify to ensure no further gains are handed to Nationalism because of unecessary electoral division.

  • The Tories have been talking about devolving policing in Wales as well:
    http://bit.ly/43Z0Vp

  • Comrade Stalin

    But Unionists can complain as much as we like, the fact is that the British government has it heart set of the devolution of Police and Justice on Republican terms,

    How do you figure that a deal which means that republicans and nationalists are both effectively excluded from the position for several years is “republican terms” ? To me the terms look decidedly Unionist.

    In fact, to me the entire process starting from the Agreement is far more Unionist than it is nationalist/republican. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, just that republicans have had to back off far further from their respective position than unionists have.

    Unionism tactically needs to swallow hard, make the deal and unify to ensure no further gains are handed to Nationalism because of unecessary electoral division.

    Just because republicans keep banging on about it doesn’t mean that it’s a bad thing for unionism. This is nothing other than republicans agreeing to operate a further aspect of a British state, a state which they used to call illegitimate and illegal. Unionism should be smiling wryly with satisfaction.

  • Damian O’Loan

    Of course the devolution of P & J will not “complete” the process. Given that devolution is neither revolution nor evolution, the expression is nonsense. By design, it cannot be completed, and the list of reserved and excepted matters extends far beyond the current argument.

    On policing, your crass reduction of a complicated decision incorporating conflicting interests and consequences into this empty accusation:

    “A police commander who seems unwilling to allow the safety of his officers to override his own agenda is hardly an individual who can be expected to accept any form of advice from local politicians”

    is thankfully undermined by the pathetic inclusion of “seems.” You might have said, more simply, policing has been largely devolved, with the notable exception of the acquiescence of SF and the DUP to MI5 supremacy on security matters.

    The rest of the post shows even less insight into matters of justice than I have. As a political, in the smallest sense of the word, analysis, the central contradiction appears to have escaped you.

    That being, it’s primarily the TUV (along with the two national governments), but not SF, who are pushing the DUP into movement on the issue.

    Without, of course, explaining its own position regarding P&J in its fantasy voluntary coalition.

    Apologies if that’s a little short, but you’re on party line here. And that party line is a joke.

  • Turgon

    Damian,
    A little harsh. Actually I have been playing with this blog for ages. It is far from perfect but I just wanted to get something on paper (well screen actually).

  • georgieleigh

    Wales, Scotland ho hum. And I’m sure there are very interesting policing arrangements in Sark.

    But I don’t recall a violent campaign to overthrow the State happening there this last while.

    Supported my a major political party.

    Forkhill ain’t Finchley.

  • Northern Ireland shares the English and Welsh justice system

    Turgon, it doesn’t undermine any of your other arguments, but as Comrade Stalin says, this is not true. Northern Ireland has its own legal system and does not operate under English law (as Wales does). It’s by no means as distinctive from English law as the Scottish system, but it is separate.

  • Framer

    What Unionist in their right mind would want a Sinn Fein veto on anything to do with justice, let alone policing?

    And Turgon is spot-on about the sooner the DUP concedes on this one the quicker the next Republican demand or issue will arrive.

    It is a ‘peace process’ not a peace settlement remember.

  • tacapall

    Turgon,

    Firstly why not answer my questions ? Are they too hard to understand, and the real reason that unionists are afraid of P+J being devolved is that there would no longer be a need for the Secretary of State ie Woodward, Unionist would be on their own.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Ciaran,

    Thanks for that. I wasn’t sure if I was going mad or not.

    Actually it does undermine one of Turgon arguments. A central plank of his main argument is that failing to devolve justice in Scotland would be a “complete nonsense” on the basis that it had a substantially separate system. Surely failing to devolve it in NI is therefore also a complete nonsense. And that’s before accounting for the fact that it was actually devolved for 50 years.

  • Damian O’Loan

    I deleted the word ‘harsh’ and replaced it with ‘short,’ Turgon. Again, you’re on party line here, so I’ll permit myself a little more latitude.

    You may have played with it, but there’s nothing regarding at the institutions of justice that are susceptible to change, the issues that republicans had problems with and what risks their reform presents to unionism, the modalities of a Minister outside the executive and the continued usurping of power by OFMDFM. There is too much missing for this to be a serious analysis. I do appreciate the demands on your time and the unexpected haste this process has assumed recently.

    Tough love, if you like.

    And back to my central point – the TUV are SF’s best chance of getting P&J devolved in the near future.

  • The Raven

    “You should be asking “What is the real reason Unionist dont want Policing and Justice devolved.”

    You, of course, mean “some unionists”, or more pertinently, “those 27 unionists who give a f**k”.

  • tacapall

    You, of course, mean “some unionists”, or more pertinently, “those 27 unionists who give a f**k”.
    Posted by The Raven on Jan 18, 2010 @ 09:06 PM

    Dont know if thats derogatory to me or them, nevertheless, is there anyone on this blog is going to tell the “Real reason why ( those 27 unionist who give a f**k) are afraid of P+J being devolved.

  • joeCanuck

    You won’t get an answer from any of the 27. They’re all too busy drafting their résumes and trying to think of ways to explain to prospective employers where they have been this past two years and what they were doing (not doing?).

  • The Raven

    I haven’t a clue. My thoughts on the whole charade are posted elsewhere. If policing works, in a manner in which most of us understand, I don’t think you will find many who really give a toss who ends up with the ministry; who runs the show; just so long as it works.

    My thoughts are that it doesn’t, prior to any devolution. And I see no evidence to suggest that will *after* the fact. However, to suggest “all unionists” care because they will be “left on their own”, is simply incorrect.

  • The Raven

    Joe’s got it.

  • Comrade,

    “How do you figure that a deal which means that republicans and nationalists are both effectively excluded from the position for several years is “republican terms” ? To me the terms look decidedly Unionist. ”

    The STA did not contain a specific deadline for the devolution of Police and Justice and the British government (and the Tories) have made it clear that they want the DUP to dance to SF’s timescale tune. This is not a battle Unionists can win and arguably as you say it will be in the long term interest of Unionism, in the short term, unless there is Unionist unity the DUP will be torn apart like the UUP before them when Trimble was shafted by the British government.

    Unionists need to play the longer strategic game, in Turgoneze military metaphor terms, lose the battle and win the war.

  • tacapall

    My thoughts are that it doesn’t, prior to any devolution. And I see no evidence to suggest that will *after* the fact. However, to suggest “all unionists” care because they will be “left on their own”, is simply incorrect.
    Posted by The Raven on Jan 18, 2010 @ 09:36 PM

    With P+J devolved Sinn Fein can give the illusion to the party faithful that the link with Britain is broken, but Unionists (as in some) cannot possibly have any moral or statutory reasons

  • Alias

    [i]Shaun Woodward has repeatedly referred to P&J devolution as somehow “completing devolution.”[/i]

    Woodward is referring to completing the transition of what are reserved matters (under Schedule 3 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998) to transferred matters.

    As is happening in Wales post-devolution, a separate legislature inevitably leads to demands for a separate legal jurisdiction as a body of law emerges over time that is distinct from English law.

    Northern Ireland is already a separate legal jurisdiction (beginning with partition) even though it is based on English law, so devolution of the relevant powers to NI (or, rather, the return of the old Stormont powers to the new Stormont) would better enable the development of a separate judicial system to the rest of the UK.

    And that might be why some unionists fear it, i.e. that it could then be harmonised with Irish law, better enabling unity were such to become more desirable.

  • Comrade Stalin

    MU, when you said “republican deal” I imagined you perceived something with Gaelic and tricolours hanging all over it with all three verses of the Soldiers Song banging out. Instead, it sounds like a deal becomes “republican” in your eyes when Sinn Fein put their hand up and say that it’s something they want to do in a hurry. Is that right ? These are hardly solid grounds.

    Devolving the powers is either right or wrong, the issue of deadlines is irrelevant.

    Sinn Fein absolutely love the idea of you guys tearing yourselves up over something just because they stamped their name on it. If you would wise up and look at who really wins and loses I think the debate would be a lot more sensible – and frankly a lot less critical. If the past two years should teach unionism anything, it’s that calling Sinn Fein’s bluff is an effective way to neutralize them. Really, unionism needs to take a long hard look at itself if it is going to fracture over this.

  • Alias

    Tacapell, that however would be a false impression. They merely have limited self-government as a region of a unitary state that remains sovereignty and a vast array of legislation over excepted matters” i.e. defence and foreign affairs, economic and monetary policy, taxation, and lots of other policy areas.

  • Marcionite

    Sorry to be off thread here but how do I create a new thread? No sarcy answers please, if there us a way, it’s not v obvious from the site. Thank you

  • tacapall

    And that might be why some unionists fear it, i.e. that it could then be harmonised with Irish law, better enabling unity were such to become more desirable.
    Posted by Alias on Jan 18, 2010 @ 09:58 PM

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article4749183.ece

    ISLAMIC law has been officially adopted in Britain, with sharia courts given powers to rule on Muslim civil cases.

    The government has quietly sanctioned the powers for sharia judges to rule on cases ranging from divorce and financial disputes to those involving domestic violence.

    Rulings issued by a network of five sharia courts are enforceable with the full power of the judicial system, through the county courts or High Court.

    So what are they afraid of, this doesn’t make Britain an Islamic state.

  • Alias

    My own view is that folks in NI should exercise as much local control over their own affairs as the UK will allow them to. That might be more difficult for British integrationists than it is for Ulster nationalists, however.

  • Marcionite

    bear with me here but my point is in topic but hear me out: The argument that ROI could not afford the north is illogical in the same way that saying loving two people at once means loving each one only half as much. Let me explain, imagine if today, the NE of England was under foreign rule and their was a campaign for a united England. Some would cry “we can’t afford them !!”. Yet we know from reality that England fine rightly is able to afford the NE region

    Same for Northern Ireland, there’s nothing inherently impoverished or economically draining about the 6 counties. My point is that devolution is like Dad lending his son the carkeys for the night. Sovereignty still lies with London and no matter what’s devolved, it can be taken at a stroke. P+J is only in Irish hands once Ireland is United as a soveriegn nation.

    That document that unionists claim to be the spiritual founding of NI ie solemn league and covenant or in other words, a sectarian petition worthy of pro Aparteid Afrikaaners has no vision for NI other than a blinkered description of the fear Protestants felt about being equal citizens in a modern secular Republic. Yes, I said secular because partition led to both Irelands becoming unhealthy monicultural concentrates that fed the fears and prejustices of the other. Do you imagine the constitution being anything like it was if Protestants were heavily involved in it’s drafting? Would the entire course of 20th century Irish history been what it was either?

    Republicans in the true secular progressive sense should be more articulate and verbally muscular in their arguments and be evangelical in our message to those who are unionists.

    Provos are to republicanism what Mugabe is to African freedom, both a vicious travesty which created more fear and division. True republicanism is like the ANC of Mandela.

    P+J is important to be devolved but what self respecting people beg their larger neighbour for crumbs?

  • Damian O’Loan

    tacapall,

    Don’t be too critcal of what you read.

    The ‘courts’ you mention are arbitration panels which allow English & Welsh law to be implemented by Muslim citizens. If there is any appeal, and the right to appeal is fully accounted for, it follows the normal path to the courts that existed before this measure of integration was introduced, which can strike down rulings not in harmony with the law.

    The phenomenon of victims of domestic violence withdrawing their case, as you may have noticed recently, is not confined to, or more pronounced in, this branch of the British judiciary.

    There is no analogy here. You are scaremongering, when in fact this measure is an effective way to encourage Muslim participation in the British justice system, which has offered no compromise. What is your alternative?

    Alias,

    Have you read Schedule 3? You’ll find it contains a lot more than the current debate is focused on. When you finish it, you could start on Schedule 2, and you’ll begin to see what an insult Woodward’s line is.

    If you think NI is a “separate legal jurisdiction”, you might like to try having a Northern Ireland lottery replace the one currently on offer.

  • Comrade,

    “Devolving the powers is either right or wrong, the issue of deadlines is irrelevant.”

    With the DUP having spent years saying exactly the opposite I’m afraid you are not paying attention to what is happening around you.

    The DUP sholud never have allowed the timing of this issue to become a major issue and once again Unionism is seen to be reluctantly accepting political progress rather than leading it.

    What is needed now is Unionist unity, but it looks more like we are heading for another few rounds of Unionist civil war with SF the beneficary.

  • tacapall

    concessions on parading, personal protection weapons

    Turgon @ 07:13 PM

    In the interests of fairness and openness, with all people who reads and contributes to this blog be they Unionists or Nationalists can you elaborate “concessions” on parading and who’s these “personal protection” weapons for.

    You see having a political party means you want to get elected, you want peoples votes, how could your party conclude this type of reasoning, to expose yourself to a ever evolving, increasing younger generation of young people, catholic and protestant, who think that sort of attitude belongs in the 16th century, Young people dont give two fks who’s in government as long as they can go out and have a good time.

  • abc123

    Arlene Foster compares us with Scotland. In Scotland they don’t have a party like Sinn Fein P-IRA who are full of terrorist murderers. If the DUP go for the deal, they need to get major concessions from the Provos e.g. as Turgon has said, SF P-IRA accepting a binding timetable for voluntary coalition. Otherwise, the DUP will be kicked out at the next election.

  • Alias

    [i]”Have you read Schedule 3? You’ll find it contains a lot more than the current debate is focused on. When you finish it, you could start on Schedule 2, and you’ll begin to see what an insult Woodward’s line is.”[/i]

    What is insulting about it? Schedule 3 as I said deals with the “reserved matters” that Woodward is referring to. By “completing devolution” he simply referring to “completing the transition of what are reserved matters (under Schedule 3 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998) to transferred matters.” As they are reserved, they are scheduled for transfer but, rather obviously, that process has not been completed.

    [i]If you think NI is a “separate legal jurisdiction”, you might like to try having a Northern Ireland lottery replace the one currently on offer. [/i]

    And you might like to acquaint yourself with what “separate legal jurisdiction” means. It doesn’t mean a sovereign jurisdiction. There are three “separate legal jurisdictions” within the UK (which is one sovereign jurisdiction): England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Crown dependencies such as The Channel Island, Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man are also separate legal jurisdictions.

  • Alias

    And if you still don’t think that Northern Ireland is a “separate legal jurisdiction” then here is The Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, Lord Lowry, to clear up your confusion:

    “…Northern Ireland, like Scotland and the Republic of Ireland, constitutes a [b]separate legal jurisdiction[/b] with its own judicial and social outlook.”

    A separate legal jurisdiction does not have the same meaning as a sovereign jurisdiction.

  • Kevsterino

    Well expressed thoughts, as usual, Turgon. However, I’m trying not to misunderstand your use of 2 catch-phrases that I just don’t see much anymore.

    Your use of “sell-out” and “surrender” are both loaded with much baggage. Can you explain to me how such terms are relevant for policing and justice devolved to Belfast?

    Republicans won’t run this department for a long long time. How can this be a surrender or sell-out?

  • Alias

    One last helpful correction to what you appear to be confused about, Damian: a “reserved matter” is a power that might be transferred at a later date whereas an “excepted matter” is a power that will not be devolved. The reserved matters – scheduled to be transferred – in Schedule 3 involving P&J are the unfinished business Mr Woodward referred to.

  • Damian O’Loan

    Alias,

    I take your point about a ‘separate legal jurisdiction’. However, elsewhere and by yourself, it’s described as a “separate legal jurisdiction within the UK.” I certainly don’t see Scotland & ROI being comparable, as underlined by your distinction between ‘separate’ and ‘sovereign’. The distinction is significant because your original phrase: “it could then be harmonised with Irish law, better enabling unity were such to become more desirable” is a gross exaggeration. Certain British laws could become similar to certain Irish laws; the two jurisdictions could never be harmonised under this arrangement.

    If I wanted to appeal a ruling by Justice Lowry, where would my appeal be heard?

    EU law is more likely, I’d suggest, to harmonise the two.

    I’m familiar with the distinction between Scehdules 2 & 3 – but that is open to legislation at Westminster. Any category could be moved, though this is obviously unlikely as these are broadly the same excepted matters that have been applied since the time of decolonisation.

    In any case, there are many more reserved matters than P&J, and so its transfer will not “complete” devolution. Woodward is, effectively, lying, though in the quest for something I’m in favour of.

  • Comrade Stalin et al,

    The Scottish legal system is based on civil law and is quite distinct in operational terms from England, Wales and Northern Ireland which has common law. It is therefore quite separate.In this respect Turgon is correct.

    While Northern Ireland may wish to think itself different from England and Wales and in a few small ways it is, particularly land law and in the past company law (I am not that up to date on the state of company law), by and large there is not much difference in body and soul.

    Alias is correct, for Northern Ireland a legal jurisdiction is merely a picket fence, constitutionally.

  • TUV = no sinn fein in government ever

    rest of Unionsim = realises this isn’t remotely possible

  • karlo polo

    “the way in which the DUP previously out manoeuvred Sinn Fein time and again”

    Standing still and shouting NO is not a manouvre.

    “(something like SF accepting a binding timetable for voluntary coalition)”

    How about SF accepting it when there is ‘confidence in the community”?

    I don’t really buy the idea that you are so worried about the DUP’s fortunes in the upcoming elections. What are you really saying?

  • tacapall

    As we head deeper into the 21th century Euporean Law and sovereignty WILL be ingrained into British and Irish law, The New World Government is a mere generation or two away, Unionist defence of P+J and parading can be likined to the story of “The Little Boy Who Put His Finger in the Dike”

    With the new sun, the boy found that the dam had sprung another leak. Without hesitation, he put his finger into this new hole. But there was to be no leeway or pause for thought as another and another hole sprung up, leaving the boy with no other recourse should another leak emerge. As he stood there, the boy became dismal and more alone. The more he held onto the holes, the more he knew another hole was not long away.

    Unionist cannot hold the tide of Nationalism back, better to throw caution to the wind and embrace the unknown than be stagnant and left in a pool of whataboutery for another generation. AS higher education gets easier to the many, and an ever growing pluralist society emerges, Unionism and its 16th century mindset will find itself relying on an ever dwindling elderly voter pool.

  • abc123

    Wishful thinking by tascapall! We haven’t gone away you know … and we’re not going anywhere. Get used to it and learn to respect your Protestant neighbours and their views instead of trying to insult them.

  • tacapall

    #

    Wishful thinking by tascapall! We haven’t gone away you know … and we’re not going anywhere. Get used to it and learn to respect your Protestant neighbours and their views instead of trying to insult them.
    Posted by abc123 on Jan 19, 2010 @ 04:49 PM

    I meant no insult, mearly stating the truth that is staring you in the face, Did you view that as threatning or something as there was none meant, I just more or less appealling to my neighbours to embrace the future together with an open mind and an equal partnership.

  • tacapall

    Well, wheres all the lords and ladies and the tally ho brigade, got nothing to say, maybe you could get the maids to ask the butlers if they could ask the valets if their masters could put quill to paper and explain their view of modern society. Remember to explain what rights you believe you have for mobs with bands in tow and beer swilled stragglers to invade residential areas where the residents dont want you, on your way to so called relegious ceromonies,