Sinn Fein as ambassadors not mere MPs, and Woodward’s swansong

There was a lot of tired old banter on Sky News from the Waterfront this morning. SF’s Gerry Kelly stuck to the party mantra

“We will negotiate in Downing Street in order to maintain the block grant to Northern Ireland.”

The Downing St shuttle ran in order to establish disarmament and a stable Assembly. Why should it become an entitlement just because SF don’t take their seats in Westminster? By that argument, all parties should quit the Commons and pile into No 10 with their shopping lists and leave legislation entirely to the government .  SF’s special treatment at that level should end. – assuming that by now they’re mature enough not to make a drama out of every future crisis.

In the same programme and later to the Guardian, Shaun “ with huge respect” Woodward did his spin doctor’s best to raise the alarm over the supposed destabilising effect of little Ucunf. He managed to drag his Lancs.constituency into it about 25 times in an interview as a minister. Who’s playing politics more Shaun, you the man presiding over the frail settlement for your last few days or a party with a minor role to play? Tories like blogger Iain Dale reserve a special loathing for Woodward as a turncoat. (“despicable little toerag” – ouch!).  His oily talents had their uses during the ups and downs over the Assembly but his courtier’s manner was rank cheesy, as my children would say.

  • Pete Baker

    “By that argument, all parties should quit the Commons and pile into No 10 with their shopping lists and leave legislation entirely to the government .”

    Brian

    As I pointed out when Gerry Adams launched that particular disingenous argument

    Post-election, without any votes in Parliament, what do Sinn Féin have to offer in any negotiation over cuts?

  • Michaelhenry

    the brits know the reasons why SINN FEIN does not take there seats at westminister, some of them agree, some change there religion to become catholic when they leave goverment, thats why the hard negotiations to do with the block grant will take place at downing street.

  • union mack

    your CapsLock button seems to get stuck at opportune moments.

    There will be no hard negotiations to do with the block grant, Downing Street or elsewhere. There will be cuts, get used to it.

  • Tony Bliar did not leave govt to become a Catholic. He had been a Catholic for years. The gutless little toe rag could have changed the law, he had ten years, but he chose to lie, as usual. Why change the habit of a lifetime.

  • Pete Baker

    And why is that, Michaelhenry?

    The oath?

    Here’s Sinn Fein’s reported position in 2006

    On Wednesday, Martin McGuinness, Sinn Fein MP for Mid Ulster, said he did not envisage any circumstances ever in the future in which any Sinn Fein MP would take their seat.

    Mr McGuinness said, while it was quite legitimate for Sinn Fein elected representatives to go to Westminster to engage with other parties, they did not recognise the right of the British Parliament to rule over any part of Ireland.

    Has that position changed?

  • daisy

    Listening to Gerry Kelly on the Politics Show saying that, and I paraphrase, that the other politicians are overplaying the influence they have at Westminster why has noone yet asked why SF bother to stand candidates? If it’s not that big a deal why do they bother standing?

  • Michaelhenry

    this reason, the oath, and one of the next steps on the peace ladder.

  • Michaelhenry

    the people want them to stand, as the election results show.

  • daisy

    but the other reps don’t so why don’t they ask the obvious question? No doubt they’ve got a well rehearsed answer, but it’s still worth asking. I would ask my local SF rep but he hasn’t appeared at my door.

  • Michaelhenry

    there is still a few days before the election.

  • daisy

    I’m looking forward to it but I’m not holding my breath.

  • Alias

    “Has that position changed?”

    Yes. It formally changed 8 years prior to that when they endorsed the GFA and “the right of the British Parliament to rule over any part of Ireland.”

    The Shinners can talk ‘anti-Brit’ and are required to do so in order to persuade their supports that they are promoting their agenda and not a British state agenda, but they sign on the dotted line when it comes to consolidating British sovereignty in constitutional agreements.

  • michaelhenry

    maybe its time for you to actually read the agreement.

  • Reader

    Pippakin: The gutless little toe rag could have changed the law, he had ten years, but he chose to lie, as usual.
    What law? He was not in line for the crown, and in any case there wasn’t a vacancy.

  • Michaelhenry

    once you have actually read the agreement you will have nothing left to argue.

  • Michaelhenry

    the law which bans catholics from the crown, when you hear equality being said on the news this is what they are talking about

  • union mack

    so if this ban were repealed, you’d suddenly be pro-Westminster, pro-British and pro-Union? No, I thought not

  • michaelhenry

    this law will be repealed and a few others, nobody or nothing will stand against, or stop the agreement which the people of the 32 counties voted yes to.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Why use the backbenches of Westminster when you can use the front door of Downing Street?

  • Reader

    union mack: so if this ban were repealed, you’d suddenly be pro-Westminster, pro-British and pro-Union?
    Only if it suddenly turned out that he was third in line for the throne, or something. Otherwise, it’s difficult to see what actual difference it would make to him.
    Really though, I was trying to work out Pippakin’s point about Blair.

  • union mack

    Why use the backbenches of Westminster when you can use the front door of Downing Street?

    I don’t imagine NI will be high on the agenda of any new government, particularly now that devolution has been completed. SF will have to come to terms with the reality that their concerns are wee buns in the grand scheme of things

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    union mack

    The magic words “peace process” always do the trick with the Englezes.

  • because they’ve no guns to bully their way there anymore.

  • Old news.

    Brown attempted to use that phrase this time round and has it done the trick?

    The jingoistic dismissal of the next government is a fairly arrogant underestimation of the changes they will bring to the freeloading mentality here.

  • Comrade Stalin

    If a prospective Prime Minister has to ringfence the block grant in order to form a government, then you’re damn right he’ll do it, and it won’t be anything to do with SF’s access to Number 10, it will be because of the role the sitting parties will have in holding his government up. Those sitting parties can, of course, quite easily use that same influence against SF.

    If this does happen, though, expect the cutting knives to be extra sharp as time goes on. There is a limit to how far small parties will be able to go in terms of extracting concessions. A minority government perceiving itself in a strong position can quite easily go back to the polls rather than try to meet unrealistic demands from coalition partners.

    I really doubt that NI parties will end up having the balance of power at this stage, however.

  • glencoppagagh

    If necessary SF can always try out the “going back to what we do best” threat in the noble interest of protecting ‘front-line’ services which are, of course, ‘entitlements’ in their lexicon. A sort of NIPSA paramilitary wing if you like.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    glencoppagagh,

    Whatever SF will admit publically the Dissers will be used as leverage to avoid going back to “the bad old days” – even Robbo is getting in on the act as in his last TV interview he was giving it much the same.

  • Brian MacAodh

    Straight to 10 downing street? That ship has sailed and they have to be happy to be another tiny political party like everyone else with 4 or 5 reps

  • Brian MacAodh

    Straight to 10 downing street? That ship has sailed and they have to be happy to be another tiny political party like everyone else with 4 or 5 reps

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Brian,

    if that ship has sailed when are you suggested it left port?

    Adams and Mc Guiness having been doing their visiting foreign statesmen routine quite a lot in 2010 and that is some considerable time after they told Johhny De Chast where their guns were hidden.

  • Michaelhenry

    it was not guns st etienne, it was that other weapon of peace.

  • John O’Connell

    Sammy

    Adams and McGuinness have been overdoing the statesman routine in recent time, and its time the public asked why. Are they really statesmen? Is their currency overvalued?

  • And now they are not the gatekeepers to it what is their alternative romantic notion of Westminster politics?

  • John I sincerely hope that response from McNally was steeped in irony.