Speculation on the state of play

Don’t you just hate it when the media interpret camera smiles as evidence of significant progress? Once again the night oil looks to be burnt as the late news’ report the latest thoughts and inferences from political observers, inside and out of the talks.

As things currently stand- again, with the health warning of being based on TV News speculation- a ‘deal’ would seem to be abroad which will deliver devolution of policing and justice in early May and a new ‘process’ through which parade organisers and residents may choose to/ be compelled to dialogue. As far as I’ve heard, there’s been no mention of progress of an Irish Language Act but significant mention of the ‘Derry model’ which, all involved need hardly be reminded, resulted in Orange feet a-walking.On the face of it, two things strike me: for the DUP to achieve any progress (from their perspective)over parading, in the absence of any concrete moves over an Irish Language Act or any other reciprocal concession to nationalism- would be tantamount to a negotiating victory for unionism, not least because the DUP already secured reciprocal concessions as the price for the devolution of policing and justice at St Andrew’s but also because they entered these negotiations on the proverbial back foot.

That’s one interpretation. A second view: Alex Attwood, speaking on UTV Live tonight, was intriguingly keen on emphasising that it was the SDLP wot prevented damage to the Parades Commission in tonight’s negotiation, speaking as if he was already conscious that the consensual position around parades would not be significantly different to that already existing and, therefore, not something nationalist communities should get worked up about.

As ever, time will tell…

  • Marcionite

    One party has been conspicuously absent from all these talks. Where on earth is Brian Wilson the Green MLA for North Down? If I am wrong I take it back but I’ve been tuning into all kinds of news reports but notvs dickie bird.

    It mightn’t be his fault, perhaps the media just hasn’t bothered asking him but still, the mono-seat PUP is given airtime.

    Just thought it worth noting. What exactly was the carbon footprint of the current rounds of talks? The car runs the planes etc. The Greens could have taken a position on this albeit wry.

  • Pete Baker

    More speculation, Chris?

    I’ll wait for the “product”.

    Whatever that is.

  • Scaramoosh

    A compromise fudge…

  • Scaramoosh

    A compromise fudge…

  • scarecrow

    There’ll be a deal. I concur with what Chris has written. To get a central SF demand the nationalist community will get nothing, back to pre ’69 situation for us, triumphalist orange marches through our streets, neighbourhoods and towns.

  • Marcionite

    Scarecrow says something which I fear could happen. Ad I mentioned elsewhere, if something calamitous befalls a nationalist due to relaxation or scrapping of the Parades Commission, SF would be left exposed armless and rudderless like the old Officials were after they dumped their arms. I Ran Away is an echo that still chills.

    I fear SF is leaving it’s treasures exposed to robbery and rust while it goes in it’s quest for that final pyrric trophy.

  • Driftwood

    Procul nox noctis , loco cattus sicco

  • percy

    interestingly the parades commision is due to meet tomorrow:

  • RepublicanStones

    I recall some Tory spokesman on radio 4 a few weeks back saying that the Conservatives envisaged the retention of a ‘Parades-type’ body. Not sure if it was the shadow NornIron fella or not.

    As regards these concessions to communites. An ILA is not central to the entire Nationalist community, and Im pretty sure there are plenty of Unionists who could care less if the OO got to march where they wanted. I think there may perhaps be a greater desire in each community to prevent the other side gettin what they are percived to want.

  • Pete Baker


    That would be coincidentally.

    *wanders off shaking head and muttering about idiots*

  • Stephen Blacker

    I agree that all parties should have been invited to the P&J talks. Just because a party is not large in numbers does not mean they dont have good ideas. Ive heard Dawn Purvis a few times over the past few days & she has made more since than most.

  • Harry J

    if the DUP dont get something BIG on parades there is no way to sell this? where is gregory , nigel and the rest of the dissenters?

  • danielmoran

    scarecrow msg 5. I’don’t hear any talk yet of the PC being done away with, or even suspended, [which a few days ago, I thought was inevitable] just preliminary stages which sounds like a figleaf not far enough for duppers knuckledraggers like mccrea, and his unholiness, gregory..SF knows that P&J isn’t something nats need much, against the PC which they do need to keep, so, the feedback from the street should be warning. they’re getting it loud and clear from there.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Might I point out that in the “Derry model” Orange feet only went walking after discussions and agreement, and compromise on both sides, and the walled city is special case for obivious reasons.
    The main problem with the Parades Commision ATM, is it is supposed to facilitate discussions and negotiations and then impose a decision, I think anyone can agree seperating the roles would help, the second problem with the PC is purely the administrative burden it palces on both the police and the parade organisers, hence the suggestion of handing it to councils.
    Right will i go to bed or wait up with bated breath for an annoucment?
    Bed it si. night all

  • BillyMena

    “A compromise fudge…”

    Is this what Team Alasdair will be serving for midnight snacks?

  • scarecrow

    RS I think to those who live on Garvaghy/Whiterock/lower Ormeau etc this may be a little more than perception. If a parades type body is kept with ‘local intervention’, and the OO does not comply with local intervention, or agree with the outcome of the local intervention, shall we see walls of peelers with riot shields forming walls to protect the orange thru garvaghy etc? The local intervention stuff is really full of holes, unless they tie it up tight it could lead to all sorts of unenvisioned situations.

  • Percy the Parades Commission meets every Wednesday. It has to meet weekly since the Portadown Orangement still apply for a parade down the Garvaghy Road every Sunday.

  • xxx,

    “Don’t you just hate it when the media interpret camera smiles as evidence of significant progress?”

    Eh,actually no, it is an obvious and reasonable observation. My own pet dislike is commentators, bloggers, journalists and other ne’r-do-wells attempting to give us the dubious benefit of their analysis by re-arranging the following terms into meaningless sentences.

    “throwing of toys”
    “cry babies”
    “need to grow up”
    “hissy fit”
    “stand on their own two feet”

  • Wabbits

    Mr/Ms Donnelly

    Why is it that people who write on political blogs don’t know what full stops are for? Is it because they write the way they speak ? i.e. without thinking and without taking a breath ? Just wondering as none of the above made any sense to me.

    Maybe I need to read stuff as breathlessley as it is written. I dunno !

  • Mick Fealty

    Great to have you back Chris… You’ve been much missed!!

    It’s all good clean fun, but my presumption is that there may not be a lot of actual negotiation going on at the centre of all of this.

    My reasoning is not based on any insider knowledge, but this simple calculus: the DUP can live with two outcomes: maximal deal (which they say they wanted all along); or no deal. They cannot live with a fudge.

    The presence of Gerry and the kitchen cabinet is the only significant addition to the usual game of who’s [NOT] running the country they like to play at OFMdFM. After three years of working in the same office with a copious political staff, they ought to know the play lines…

    If a deal is done, we may then have a clearer view of where Martin is in the internal pecking order of SF… and, by extension, ‘our wee country’…

  • RepublicanStones

    Scarecrow I was referring to the portrayal by some of these two issues being central to the entire respective communities. Im well aware of the sensitivities of the contentious routes, which is why i think the question i asked on the ‘Look Not To Derry…’ thread is pertinent.

  • mayday


    The lasting deal that may come out of these negotiations may be a realignment of unionism within the centre ground in order to sell what is publically agreed. The DUP need the UU for political cover for any deal which doesn’t get rid of the PC or restain the RUCR or the other preconditions set by their party spokespersons (not in the lifetime…etc). There are interesting times ahead as unionism seek to stabilise their polical base prior to the next election.

  • Harry J,

    the DUP have been ambushed by Her Majesty’s government, although admittedly they should have seen it coming, you cannot negotiate when the referee(s) have been bought in advance.

    SF shout “Crisis” and the 2 prime ministers arrive without even packing their bags properly and Unionism is again let down by its own side as the Irish government smiles on approvingly.

  • percy

    peteb, tis a better word indeed.

    I’m going to miss your posts on the detail of St.Andrews: “as you well know”
    There may be other “cuckoo-lands” that lay ahead
    but “let no-one interfere with that”!

  • Marcionite

    decommissioning now!!!

    sorry, time machine issues, here goes the Future switch … What do I see:

    2012 Irish Language impasse.

    Naomi Long leading a bigger and revived Alliance after Forde did an Alderdice or was that a Cushnahan…

    Toiseach Enda Kenny tells the 3 SDLP mla’s that he can squeeze them during his tea break

    Gerry Adams returns from making a documentary about Mohammed and claims he too lived in an occupied country and asks the profound question, would Jesus have been Sticky or a Provie?

    After a frantic round of hothouse talks, the DUP and SF emerge with a compramise. “Nil Surrender : Tiocaidh ar Day” is the title of the position paper where all Stormont business will be conducted in Gaenglish ie a hybrid Tongue best spoken in forked shape

    Lady Sylvia, MLA for Tracey Island, wants to join the United Labour and SDLP :Spent Force (ULSDLPSF)

    Reg Empy leader of the Anyone for a Merger Party still looks like an Ulster version of the Spitting Image David Steele puppet.

    The Second Coming occurs but the DUP think Jesus is a fenian as he has long hair and doesn’t have a double chin.

    Good night all and when I wake up, i hope my P+J-less nightmare of a life is over and I look forward to David Forde taking decisions over procurement of slopping out buckets

    Ah sweet self determination

  • tacapall

    All doors are now closed to the DUP they have nowhere to go, P+J will be devolved, the DUP have no choice in the matter, Plan B is enough for them ! We all saw smiley face at hillsborough which means no agreement ! People are playing for the camera’s, what can be conceded ! By both parties without losing face, not much from a nationalist point of view, Church marches, is that with no bands in tow, no swords, no paramilitary banners, no drunken stragglers, after all we are talking about going to a religious ceronomy. If so whats everybody’s problem.

  • Alias

    Powersharing with these two parties in mandatory coalition is a bit like two obese Siamese twins conjoined at the hip getting their doublewide arses stuck in the door frame: Papa Browne can come a-runnin’ and dangle the world’s biggest chocolate-coated donut on one side of the door while Mama Biffo jackboots them from the rear, but even if they free the freaks this time, you know damn well that it’s only a matter of time before they have to come a-runnin’ once again to dislodge from some other improbable but yet inevitable bind.

    At some point, folks are going to have to address the cause of the problem rather than relentlessly relieve its symptoms. That means reform of the system, replacing mandatory coalition with a voluntary arrangement.

  • Wabbits

    The “look at Derry” way of teasing out the parading issue is unrealistic.

    For a start Derry is a large city.It’s not some hick town in Antrim or Armagh where you can dander past the local Catholic church hammering away at the sash etc and get away with it because you are in the majority.

    The whole marching melarkey is seen by “fenians” (their word not mine) as an attempt to intimidate those who are in the minority around and abouts.

    That’s not the way it is in Derry.

    The Orange Order/Apprentice Boys came to agreement in Derry only because it suited them.They were under pressure. They knew that if they didn’t play ball then eventually they would have been marching around the Waterside only.

  • Henry94

    I don’t know which is more intense, the speculation about this deal or the speculation about the new Apple tablet.

    I hope to be delighted with both before the day is done.

  • Marcionite

    My computer crashes less often the the Stormont executive

  • danielmoran

    Harry J 23. I know that at SAA talks in ’07, whatever was written down, one thing wasn’t and that was the whisper in the ear of Ian Paisley by the govts, which IP himself admitted on TV a short time after. this will have been whispered in the ear of PR this time, and no record kept this time either. even if these talks result in another year or more at Stormont, we’ll still have the two PMs back for crisis talks after the assembly election next year, since it will only be another year until SF are entitled to have justice minstry, and whether DUP or UUP, one will object again.

  • danielmoran

    wabbits msg 3. That’s the difference between Rasharkin Portadown, and Harryville one one side and Derry on the other. It’s a bit harder for marchers to intimidate the locals when they are surroundede by them as in Derry, and this is what they capitalise on in POortadown and the others. The Derry case is unique. no parallels can be transposed elsewhere.