“It is for the parties to decide when the time is right” – redux

I’ve mapped out the mostly unacknowledged background to the current “crisis” for the benefit of the Belfast Telegraph readership.

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  • J Kelly

    I don’t think its time for parties to decide one party has a decision to make.

  • alf

    Aye nice try Baker, one party is sittin back relaxing, seriously though effort

  • alf

    its the old “when is a deadline not a deadline” classic

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    Unionism has a choice of

    a )Move on from what has gone before

    b )Stand still. Which is not working.

    c )Go back in time to where Jim Allister is. Unfortunately his time machine can only go backwards. He had better stop using it or where will he go.

  • Pete, you might like to explain the StAA Act’s arrangements for the selection of FM and how they differ from StAA to the BT’s Noel McAdam. The paragraph 16C sleight of hand at Westminster post StAA could mean that any agreement at Hillsborough might not be accurately reflected in any new legislation.

  • Panic, it would be nice to move on from paramilitarism and organised crime but it’s unlikely that London and Dublin will apply much if any pressure to SF on that front.

  • Dec

    I’ve mapped out the mostly unacknowledged background to the current “crisis”


    You’ve been oddly silent about the DUP’s opposition to a potential SF FM, the possibility of which, they did sign up to at St Andrew’s.

  • fin

    Nevin is that why the PSNI are only investigating the First Minister, he should complain.

  • tacapall

    Nevin. Are the Financial dealings and relationships of the Robinsons to the planning authority and property devolopers organised crime.

  • Dec, the potential SF FM didn’t arise apparently until around the time paragraph 16C appeared in the StAA Bill. Also neither SF nor the DUP signed up to anything at St Andrews. They were invited to go away and examine the two government’s StAA.

  • Greenflag

    Unionism only has reverse gears . Under normal /abnormal circumstances it can only function by going backwards . Any forward gear that unionism may have is for use only when a ‘unionist’ party is attacked from behind by another ‘unionist’ party .

    Time for an election . Time for Mr Robinson to confront his ‘dissident’ rump .

    I mean it’s not as if ‘unionism’ has’nt been down this road before at least a dozen times or more I’d think ?

    Not even funny anymore even for a nationalist 🙁

  • joeCanuck

    They might not have signed but going into Government on the foot of it is a de facto acceptance of the St.AA.
    But, yes, they did not agree on a date for P&J.

  • tacapall, perhaps the police will provide an answer to that question about organised crime. However, the police have to operate within political constraints and that applies to what they can tell us about misdeeds by public representatives and others. It’s also possible that journalists might be looking at paramilitary connections in projects linking public representatives and businessmen. You never know what turns up when you lift a corner of the carpet.

    I’ve had a look at the February statistics on PSNI staffing and it looks as if the Patten reference established figures have been permanently discontinued. There’s little change in the deficit of constables but the MSM is prepared to remain silent on this ‘cover-up’.

  • Greenflag, the two Government’s NIMBY approach to paramilitarism isn’t a laughing matter for Joe and Josey Public here either. This particular brand of NIMBYism stinks.

  • tacapall

    Unfortunately Nevin, Politicians and people here have the bizarre position of seeing the other sides misdeeds whilst turning a blind eye to their own. The current crop up at Stormont are not immune from scrutiny and indeed throughtout all parties have a past connection with various paramilitary groups of one type or another.

  • fin

    It’s also possible that journalists might be looking at paramilitary connections in projects linking public representatives and businessmen.

    Nevin If the PSNI find combats and a red beret in Robo’s wardrobe during their searches I’m sure he can explain that his paramilitary career was seperate from his property development career.

  • fin, I’ve already pointed out that the police may be aware/uncover evidence of misdeeds but whether or not any action follows may well be a political decision.

  • Agreed, tacapall. Pan-Unionism and Pan-Nationalism have both been very motley crews. We also rely on the electorate to provide us with folks who are often not fit for purpose.

    Where’s the scrutiny going to come from? Investigative journalism is in an emaciated state and the Stormont committees appear to be little more than nodding donkeys. Also, the inter-government stuff isn’t subjected to parliamentary scrutiny and we only ever get rare glimpses into the machinations that go on there.

  • tacapall

    Indeed Nevin, where is the scrutiny going to come from. Journalists must/need to expose to the public the hyprocisy from some quarters regarding their percieved moral high ground in regards to their political opponents. Untill this happens the public will continue to be fooled into believing they are supporting parties that expouse democracy and the rule of law.

  • Dec


    Spare us the semantics. It’s there in the document.The question remains: why has Slugger’s connoisseur of the small print posted what seems around 200 threads about SF trying to pressurise the DUP into following the spirit of the agreement, but hasn’t uttered a peep about the DUP making it clear they’re going to ignore the letter of the agreement. Surely, it’s what they signed up to. Indeed.

  • tacapall

    Dec. The DUP with their superiority complex believe they dont have to abide by their commitments. They agreed to the SAA but not the content within it, puzzling to an impartial observer but to those of us who have experienced this charade for a number of years its apt to DUP policy in relation to Nationalism.

  • Greenflag

    nevin ,

    ‘Where’s the scrutiny going to come from?’

    Questions :

    Who polices the police ?

    The politicians ?

    Who polices the politicians ?

    The politicians

    Some would say that the people ultimately police the politicians via the democratic process but that presumes there is a community wide underpinning of the ‘democracy’

    Sadly in NI because of it’s particular historical circumstances and it’s non democratic legacy it usually takes an MLA or MP to be caught in flagrante delicto or with their hands wrapped tightly around the money bag for the ‘populus’ to cry out .

    Where NI differs from ROI or the rest of the UK is the sub text underpinning each fresh revelation -i.e is it one of themuns or usuns .

    tacapall ,

    ‘the public will continue to be fooled into believing they are supporting parties that expouse democracy and the rule of law.’

    I think you underestimate the public . I believe that on both sides of the divide the public know exactly what they have voted for and why . And they don’t expect a whole lot from their local politicians either . How could they . They are a powerless bunch anyway and even the NI Westminster MP’s are entirely dependent on voting pattern in Britain to tell them whether they may or may not have some leverage over government .

    Poor old Empey has now thrown his full weight behind the Tories hook , line and sinker or so he says ;)?

  • Dec, you need to read the StAA and the StAA Act again. The detail of paragraph 16C where the largest party becomes FM isn’t in the StAA. In the StAA the FM is the largest party in the largest political designation as was the case previously.

  • “the people ultimately police the politicians”

    The people only get that choice once every four or five years and sometimes the choice on offer is fairly meagre.

    Its reassuring to know that, just as I suspected, there’s probably as much political sleaze in the North as in the South 🙂

  • Dec, you might like to think of Slugger’s connoisseur as the thinking man’s Alex Attwood 🙂

    I ran part of the BT article through the SMOG index – and I think it’s pitched at too high a level for the BT readership. How many of the latter would feel confident about understanding an article in the Harvard Business Review?

  • Dec


    If SF are returned as the largest party, who becomes FM?

  • SF nominee, Dec.

    Here’s what the two premiers agreed at St Andrews says:

    The Nominating Officer of the largest party in the largest designation in the Assembly shall make a nomination to the Assembly Presiding Officer for the post of First Minister. The Nominating Officer of the largest party in the second largest designation in the Assembly shall similarly nominate for the post of Deputy First Minister. The d’Hondt procedure will then run, as already set out in the 1998 Act, to fill the Ministerial posts in the Executive.

  • jtwo

    The BT should really have illustrated this with a picture of a dewy-lipped Lucy Evangelista flicking through the SAA. While wearing a bikini.

  • Pete,

    “I’ve mapped out the mostly unacknowledged background to the current “crisis”.

    It is mostly irrelevant as the two governments want progress now from the DUP, that is the salient point, how we arrived here may be of interest to some and especially those who are having difficulty coming to terms with this political reality.

  • Pete Baker

    “I think it’s pitched at too high a level for the BT readership”


    Don’t underestimate the audience.

  • percy

    your article misses the “spirit of the law”
    that’s not something that can ever be arrived at through focusing on the details.