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.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London