Parading, the Hillsborough Agreement and the return of the Clever Device

The Hillsborough Agreement seems much longer than seven months ago. For months the DUP had stalled in accepting the devolution of policing and justice and Lord Morrow and Gregory Campbell gloated over Sinn Fein suggesting that P&J would not be devolved in the lifetime of the current assembly and that it might take six years. Then despite the rows behind closed doors and the supposed threatened resignations the DUP accepted P&J devolution. At the time in the wake of the problems which seemed to be engulfing the DUP they seemed in a gravely weakened position and conventional wisdom suggested that they greatly feared an assembly election lest it result in the loss of multiple MLAs and the possibility of Sinn Fein taking the First Ministership.

The Hillsborough Agreement produced the timetable for P&J devolution which was Sinn Fein’s main demand and although the DUP may have protested vehemently most saw that devolution as a victory for SF and a defeat for the DUP (and of course a huge victory for David Ford who after claiming he would not take the P&J ministership got his snout well and truly to the truffles of power).

There were other issues agreed which at the time were seen as problematic for the DUP. Amongst those were the Review of Outstanding Issues from St Andrews which was to create a working group and create a programme to complete its conclusions. This raised the spectre of an Irish Language Act. In addition there was to be a review (with a view to expansion not contraction) of the North South bodies, the North South Civic Forum and the North South Parliamentary Forum. However, none of these has actually caused any significant problems for unionists. The DUP have managed to stymie republicans on all these issues.

The DUP’s one great victory at Hillsborough was of course the end of the hated Parades Commission. The agreement created a six member group (three DUP, three SF) to create a way forward replacing the Commission. The problem of course is that the main marching organisation the Orange Order then rejected the proposals, albeit by a narrow majority, some months ago. There was a suspicion that the Order might, rather like the Irish electorate over European Agreements, be asked to vote again. Now it seems that the Order is not going to hold a further vote and as such the legislation to replace the Parades Commission has been dropped.

In the aftermath of the Hillsborough Agreement it was suggested that the DUP lost at Hillsborough by 7 – 1: that was clearly was erroneous: rather they seem to have lost 1 – 0. In addition they might still be able to deploy Peter Robinson’s “Clever Device” which he once mentioned as a possible strategy to utilise if the DUP did not get a satisfactory agreement from Hillsobrough. Jim Allister has called on Robinson to deploy the clever device but it is unclear whether Robinson will consider this situation sufficiently serious to need the device and indeed whether it would actually be a “Clever Device” or one of Baldrick’s Cunning Plans.

There does, however, remain a further danger: that Sinn Fein will threaten once again to collapse the executive and force an election; as they did to force the DUP into compromise at Hillsborough. In the aftermath of the Westminster election it looked as if the danger to the DUP of an election was a complete red herring and that if there was an election the DUP would steamroller the UUP and completely destroy the TUV. Now with a new UUP leader there is a slightly higher danger of the UUP doing well and hence, of course produce the danger of a Sinn Fein First Minister. However, this is still a relatively small danger and as such Robinson might at least threaten to use his Clever Device to get a more satisfactory resolution to the parading issue. Alternatively he may calculate that helping the Orange Order at this time is not his first priority and avoiding a crisis this close to the announcement of the Comprehensive Spending Review is a much higher priority. In which case the Parades Commission may survive for the foreseeable future.

,

  • dennis

    So TUrgon where is Jims alternative to the parades commission, and how is he going to implement it.

    Cant wait til next may til jim loses out on an assembly seat.

    Has the TUV won ANY election it has fought?

  • slug

    I don’t care about the parades issue. It seems such a waste that the DUP chose to put all their bargaining focus on it and then got nothing in the end.

    Oh well.

  • joeCanuck

    In which case the Parades Commission may survive for the foreseeable future.

    And the alternative is…?

  • Granni Trixie

    How thran you are Turgon. You say,that with its new leader the UUP has a slightly higher chance of doing well” .

    You will not be surprised but I also strongly disagree with your portrayal of Alliance. With strategic vision and action the party worked through problems, all the time offering the public an alternative,positive way forward,different to negative.always harking back to the bad old days .

    The Justice MInistry I see as not a “trough” so much as a responsibility which OTHERS looked to Alliance to take up. How can it be self interest to do what advanced the devolution of powers? I am also very happy that in practice DF is dealing well with daily,weekly challenges.
    The alternative not to participate would have been the cowardly act.

  • joeCanuck

    Turgon,

    The major flaw in your analysis and J.A’s call for the “clever device” to be employed is that the device was to be used against SF if they proved to be nefarious over parading.
    But SF complied fully and even tried to promote the “flawed” solution as promised.
    In case you didn’t really notice, although you mentioned it, the agreement fell because of another, unelected, group.

  • joeCanuck

    And, I should have added, Robinson’s cowardice in dropping the Draft Bill because of being afraid to upset that unelected group.

  • Pete Baker

    And both parties, DUP and Sinn Féin, are, if truth be told, quite happy not to have to defend that “flawed” solution in public.

    In the absence of their, promised, wonderful agreed amendments…

  • tacapall

    “There were other issues agreed which at the time were seen as problematic for the DUP. Amongst those were the Review of Outstanding Issues from St Andrews which was to create a working group and create a programme to complete its conclusions”.

    The real wording –

    “The First Minister and deputy First Minister will oversee an exercise of examining the St Andrews Agreement and identifying all matters contained within it which have not been faithfully implemented or actioned”.

    Who is this paragraph aimed at Turgon, of course you’re right one of those matters not faithfully implemented is the Irish Language Act.

    The clever device is just reverting back to traditional unionist values and deny Irish people in this part of Ireland equality.

  • Turgon

    Granni Trixie,
    Alliance were the ones who told us that they would not take the P&J ministry. However, when the truffles of power were presented Ford’s snout hit the trough with predictable accuracy.

  • joeCanuck

    Granni,
    Have to agree. The sideways slap to David Ford, hence Alliance, was totally uncalled for in the context of Turgon’s theory. Presumably a TUV attempt (clever device?) to draw people fed up with the DUP to them rather than to Alliance.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Turgon,

    Do you not think this affair offers Allister a chink of light after all he did correclty predict the clever device was a cover for the DUP’s policing dilemma? It may also surely offer the new leader of the UUP who as alleged by Dondaldson played a mischevious role within the OO.

    …and surely some in the DUP will blame Robbo for what is an embarassing climdown/own-goal and his position must become under threat from Deluty Dodsy or Gregory.

    JoeC,

    Of course Jimbo knows full well that the clever device cant be employed he is just trying to embarrass Robbo by pointing out how fecking useless it is.

    PS I do like that typo “his snot well and truly to the truffles of power”

  • Turgon

    No Joe as I said above it is Ford’s U turn and doing the exact opposite of what he said he would do which I am highlighting. Those truffles must be great: Ford’s snout is clearly more sensitive than his integrity.

  • Obelisk

    So in a nutshell, Sinn Fein ended up with Policing and Justice devolved and they won’t really have to make any concession on the parading issue as the one concession the DUP extracted at Hillsborough to cover a humiliating climbdown was instead broadsided and sunk by the very people the DUP wanted to help, which also leaves the DUP unable to deploy their ‘clever device’ against Sinn Fein because Sinn Fein was co-operating.

    As a Nationalist I find the above situation intellectually and viscerally satisfying on numerous levels.

    More importantly as a human being, I am so glad this dangerous piece of legislation is effectively dead. It was bad for everyone.

  • DC

    lol

  • joeCanuck

    I have a wonderful solution to this problem.
    Get together 6 children from Kindergarden, 3 Protest and 3 Catholic. Explain the problem of violence surrounding a few Parades and ask them to devise a solution. It will surely be much better than the Draft Bill.

  • Turgon

    Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit,
    Sorry I fixed the snot / snout typo.

    As to Allister and a chink of light we will wait and see. However, to be fair the DUP survived much worse than this in the Westminster election. It might help Elliott with some in his party. I think a lot depends on how big an issue this becomes. I suspect it may not be that big: the marching season is almost over and most people are focused on the amount of money we get in the spending review and the attendant cuts.

    As ever we will wait and see

  • Obelisk

    To be honest I think the current solution is the best. A neutral quango which rules only on contentious parades.

    Surely now it is time for us to accept the Commission as a fact of life?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Turgon is absolutely correct – at various point before the DUP and SF reached agreement Ford went out of his way to paint the Assembly in a bad light and say it was an unsuitable vehicle rather than trying to get progress and this during the time SF had to suspend Stormont workings to get the DUP and Alliance’s arse into gear. The Alliance’s behaviour was a complete disgrace to the origins of the party and leaves Ford open (correclty) to the acccusations Turgon has levelled at him. Well said Sir.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    On the nose.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    It will be interesting.

    God help whoever the DUP put up against Jimbo in the TV studio – he will ate them alive.

  • joeCanuck

    Yes, and that’s why I said that the children should be presented with the problem surrounding a few parades. Those are the only ones that need to be dealt with. This was a classic example of using a sledgehammer to crack a few nuts (pun intended).

  • joeCanuck

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch, it is reported that the new UUP leader has written to a certain Grand Master asking him if it’s true that the DUP followed their remit in their negotiations with SF over the issue.
    Talk about snouts in troughs. This one must be filled with orange juice and it has taken Elliot no time at all to rush to it.

  • Munsterview

    “…..More importantly as a human being, I am so glad this dangerous piece of legislation is effectively dead. It was bad for everyone……”

    Amen to that!

  • Munsterview

    “……It will surely be much better than the Draft Bill…..”

    Joe, surely you mean the daft bill ?

  • joeCanuck

    hehehehe

  • vada

    Did Sammy Wilson have a black eye on TV last night?

  • slappymcgroundout

    “This raised the spectre of an Irish Language Act….The DUP have managed to stymie republicans on all these issues.”

    Have you not read:

    http://conventions.coe.int/treaty/en/Treaties/Html/148.htm

    Your beloved UK is a signatory and is committed re the Irish language (see Article 3, item 1, which required your beloved UK to make the designation). Perhaps your next piece can be the elucidation of just which ones were chosen and just what is being done in relation thereto:

    each Party undertakes to apply a minimum of thirty-five paragraphs or sub-paragraphs chosen from among the provisions of Part III of the Charter, including at least three chosen from each of the Articles 8 and 12 and one from each of the Articles 9, 10, 11 and 13.

    And in the meantime, note Article II, item 1(f):

    the provision of appropriate forms and means for the teaching and study of regional or minority languages at all appropriate stages;

    In any event, I take it that you and yours aren’t living the spirit of the Charter.

    Lastly, and by the way, for why you promote the language (and culture):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfSJifXS-TQ&feature=fvst

    Almost forgot, but kindly note the precision and unity of movement. Give them four (4) weeks for some additional training, as well as uniforms and rifles, and they could be the finest infantry platoon in the world.

  • Comrade Stalin

    What does “integrity” mean, Turgon ? Is that what allows you to completely oppose prisoner releases and yet remain a member of a party which is ambiguous about them ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    an unsuitable vehicle rather than trying to get progress

    Alliance is a small party and has no power to do anything to progress matters in the assembly in the scenario where both the DUP and SF wield independent vetoes. Alliance called for all-party talks on numerous occasions but this was ignored.

    and this during the time SF had to suspend Stormont workings to get the DUP and Alliance’s arse into gear.

    OK, so why did SF wait for two years after the target date ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    God help whoever the DUP put up against Jimbo in the TV studio – he will ate them alive.

    I’m definitely coming to the conclusion that you are on a different planet. I’ve listened to interviews involving several DUP figures in a studio with Jim Allister, usually people like Arlene Foster or Sammy Wilson, and they have held their own very well against Allister. And of course we all know the election results.

  • Comrade Stalin

    If you think that is the right attitude to take, then surely you would agree that the DUP are also taking the right attitude when they go around touting about how they killed the Irish language act and the Maze “shrine”.

    It’s surely much more constructive to talk about the reality, which is that neither of the two parties really supported this legislation.

    If the Orange Order had been a bit more canny, they would have recognized an opportunity to put SF on the spot and hold their feet to the fire over the deal they signed up to. Of course, it wouldn’t be the first time SF have benefitted from the OO’s lack of tactical nous.

  • At what point did OO dissatisfaction become obvious. After all, wasn’t Mervyn Gibson on the Ashdown group and taken in as a special advisor to the Working Group. Surely, the consultation paper, effectively the proposed Bill, should not have been released had Gibson (in consultation with the Order) not agreed? Otherwise the entire exercise was a waste of time, since April.

    BTW where is the Ritchie/Empey report on making the Executive work better? That was part of Hillsborough too.

  • Joe Mahon

    ‘Now with a new UUP leader there is a slightly higher danger of the UUP doing well’
    So when you say that do you mean chances of improvement under Empey: None. Chances of improvement under Private Elliott: Next to none?
    I think you are wrong there is no evidence to suggest that the Conservative link up at a pivotal General Election made the UUP less attractive to voters.
    Now with no link and a less than charismatic leader they will be seen as being without relevance

  • The police have a portable electronic messageboard, probably more than one, which they use to display crime prevention measures. One is in use in my neck of the woods at the moment, and I have seen it too, operating in Hillsborough.

    For example the two messages below are displayed after one another on a rolling basis. It has always puzzled me as to whom are they referring: door to door salesmen? is it code for travellers? street vendors? diesel suppliers? used car “private” sellers? local shopkeepers even. I just don’t know as the first is a meaningless message but in the context of Hillsborough they are both very clear. Who says the PSNI don’t have a sense of humour. Lest I forget the messages are:

    Rogue Traders Operating

    Report Suspicious Activity.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    CS,

    Jimbo in case you hadnt noticed is a good debater (if a little over excitable at times) and when presneted with the own goal/pig’s mickey the DUP have made out of this issue it will be a very easy for him to make the DUP extremely uncomfortable. By the time that happens the OO will no doubt have clarified that what the DUP were proposing was to allow SF/IRA to have say in the parades issue and they didnt want any of it. The DUP will wish for this issue
    to go away you know, and certainly not want to have to try and defend it.

  • wj

    The real question is not was Gibson representing the views of the OO but if he was representing the views of the loyalist paramilitaries vis a vis his previous position as chair of the Loyalist Commission. I think the latter which might explain why the OO called foul.

  • fin

    Worth pointing our that the legislation has not been ‘dropped’ its actually just on hold, the Parades Commission has been reappointed for ‘another year’

    Further I don’t see why SF would have an issue in publically supporting legislation which upsets the OO, DUP, UUP and TUV so much, if anything it will play well to nationalists, esp if the SDLP do their usual kneejerk reaction and wade in along side the OO.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    fin,

    In the next few days expect the OO to outline why they dont like the legislation – this is being done at the request of Tommo-the-Orangeman at the moment. It’s a pretty sure bet that the bits the OO dont like are the bits that SF insisted are in there and once this debate becomes public it will be very difficult for SF or the OO to give way.

    The Parades commission is here for the forseeable future – I’m sure the Tories must be very relieved as they must have feared that any legislation introduced rather than solving the problem would just have another group of people sticking their oar in and may well have made the situation worse and it looks like the boy Owen P couldn’t wait to get signing the order to bring it back so he can get back to Shropshire for the weekend, relax and forget about those mad cantankerous Paddies for a few days.

  • Mickles

    Whoever wins – we lose.

  • Dazzler

    Nationalists should not agree to do a deal on parades again until there is an Irish Language Act and whatever else is on the shopping list.

  • Munsterview

    Dazzler,

    So now the inalienable and intrinsic right to a language of choice for Nationalists is something to be withheld or granted at the whim of Unionism ?

    What is next, religious belief, do Unionists have a right to dictate what kind of Catholicism practicing Nationalists and Republicans use ?

    There are certain things that require negotiation but in relation to liberty, language , religion and human rights, the unionists should be simply told to get stuffed !

    Equating a right to use Gaelic the Oldest Language of one of the Oldest European Civilization, alongside that of Greece and Rome, with marching around banging a drum and annoying other communities is so much a non starter it is simply absurd !

    As for your suggestion dazzler……it was hardly dazzling now was it as it seemed to accept the Unionist position that these things are rights that they can give or withhold at will.

    Where is the parity of esteem in that ?

  • Reader

    Munsterview: As for your suggestion dazzler
    Be fair; while Dazzler’s proposal may have been aggressive, divisive and impractical, it was – at least – A Plan. Unlike your own proposals, which were entirely rhetorical.

  • joeCanuck

    The right to use the language is not proscribed. Besides which I was taught to read write and speak Latin as well as Gaelic; does that give me some “rights”?
    When I was a kid we were taught that a few villages on the north east cost still had a considerable proportion of Gaelic speakers ( Cushendun, Cushendall?). If still true they should be provided for. But to argue, for example, that all Government documents be translated is not only absurd, but totally unaffordable.
    We don’t need an act of the Assembly to make reasonable provisions and those provisions should be made; we need reasonable people and, unfortunately at the moment, we don’t have many of those in either main “camp”..

  • Munsterview

    joeC

    “……. we need reasonable people and, unfortunately at the moment, we don’t have many of those in either main “camp”……..”

    Not so Joe !

    The Sinn Fein objective is to do business, the Unionists to prevent business being done !

  • joeCanuck

    Not quite, MV. They both see politics as a zero sum game, which it shouldn’t be.

  • Comrade Stalin

    No, I’m not persuaded that Jim is a good debater. Any time I’ve seen him debating he talks over people and shouts them down. As I have said before the guy took on a drastically weakened DUP and failed to land a punch when, in theory, he should have been able to do so.

    The DUP’s defence looks fairly straightforward to me. The OO requested the abolition of the parades commission, and they delivered it. The OO rejected the proposals, largely because the OO are never likely to accede to any kind of regulation of parades. I don’t see what the DUP could have done differently that would have delivered a better outcome from a unionist perspective. For Alister to demolish them in a debate he would have to present an alternative, and Alister is not one for presenting alternatives.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Politicising the Irish language by trading it off against parades plays into the hands of unionists and reaffirms the situation those of us who think that nationalists have less enthusiasm for culture and language and more concern about getting one up on non-nationalists.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The Sinn Fein objective is to do business

    Nonsense, Sinn Fein blocked things for years, over a decade even when it comes to dealing with decomissioning, policing, etc etc etc.

    Right now, they’re about to block business again by trying to deny reality over the matter of the impending budget cuts being imposed from London, acting as if it really is in the power of NI ministers to persuade Westminster to leave us unscathed, forgetting that our friends to the South have been forced to make deep cuts and tax raises of their own. They live in a dream world.

  • The answer is no. He was representing the OO and the OO only.

  • joeCanuck

    And a dream that is about to become a nightmare for many.

  • Munsterview

    Since I must forego nomenclature such as agreed, never the less, be it noted that our views of this issue would seem to run on parallel lines !

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    CS,

    “The DUP’s defence looks fairly straightforward to me. ”

    I know you publically like to wear your Alliance hat but your constant leaping to the defence of the DUP does tend to lead you down some rather ridiculous lines of reasoning although to be fair to you I presume this has more to do with your intense dislike for SF rather than your love for the DUP.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    MV,

    “The Sinn Fein objective is to do business, the Unionists to prevent business being done !”

    On the button.

    That’s of course has nothing to do with them being better human beings but simply that the GFA was designed to buy the Provos/SF off (listen to the rush of Unionists to tell us that the GFA was a victory for Unionism but they just dont realise it yet lol) and Unionists still have to be dragged screaming and kicking along the way (ie GFA/STA/Hillborough)and most of them still havent come to terms with the fact that the insurgents are in government and Unionist Public enemy number 2 is doing an outstanding job.

    SF and the SDLP in unison with the 2 governments have set the agenda and Unionism still cant bring itself to embrace this reality and anybody who tries to suggest that perhaps it may be time to move on – like the boy Bazza in the recent elections – get a good Orange shoeing for his efforts.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Heh, I’m getting lectures on leaps of reasoning from Sammy.

  • Comrade Stalin

    simply that the GFA was designed to buy the Provos/SF off (listen to the rush of Unionists to tell us that the GFA was a victory for Unionism but they just dont realise it yet lol)

    It was designed to buy the Provos/SF off, what’s surprising is how cheap it was. Unionists gave away very little compared to republicans who ditched all of their ideological positions on partition, devolution, policing, and so on.

    most of them still havent come to terms with the fact that the insurgents are in government

    Agreed, although they’re getting there.

    and Unionist Public enemy number 2 is doing an outstanding job.

    More bizarre fantasies. I have to think really hard to come up with stuff that our devolved government has actually done. If you think any of the parties are “outstanding” you have a very low bar. Then again, if you want to argue that SF taking power in a British institution under a unionist veto is a victory, then we already know your bar is pretty low.

    SF and the SDLP in unison with the 2 governments have set the agenda

    Perhaps they’d be kind enough to tell us what the agenda is. I’m having trouble discerning it.

  • Munsterview

    “…… Oh wise men riddle me this….. What if that dream comes true… what if that dream comes true….what if generations yet unborn shall live …ect”

    P H Pearse

  • Munsterview

    “…..most of them still haven’t come to terms with the fact that the insurgents are in government and Unionist Public enemy number 2 is doing an outstanding job……”

    And this is the nub of the problem…. we brought most of our people there !

    Unionists assured their people that …. SF would never be there !

    Well here we are, for now anyway, we ‘have not gone away you know’ the penny has dropped with the chiefs but nobody can figure out how to tell the indians without causing a rebellion on the reservation !

    So meanwhile keep the drums banging……. keep the war chants going……keep them dancing around the fire and hope the braves will not notice the palefaces in the council tent !

  • joeCanuck

    I don’t think Mr. Pearse was in the business of creating a new generation.

  • lamhdearg

    The Braves know the palefaces are in the tent, if the Braves do not like the palefaces being in the tent they will let them know.

  • joeCanuck

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  • Munsterview

    “……Then again, if you want to argue that SF taking power in a British institution under a unionist veto is a victory, then we already know your bar is pretty low……”

    Yep, keep waving that union jack in our faces….no problem with that until is is hauled down at midnight, folded neatly and handed to Charlie to take home……. that is if the dissidents have not Mountbattened the waster by then !

    That has been the end of empire in every Colonial country so far !

    Ulster….. or the Six County Statlet part of it will be different…….. Right ?

  • lamhdearg

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
    as long as EVERY man is not as he was.

  • Munsterview

    joeC

    Things may not be what they seem there. I heard a few rumors in the West over the years that he had an affair there and left results behind ! I cannot recall it ever being explicitly stated in print but I have occasionally seen it implied.

    His father is reputed to have done some work in one of the big houses in the Newcastle West area and by all accounts was far from puritanical during his few months in the area !

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    CS,

    We have been through this loop a few times, but what the heck … what did the insurgents get from the Englezes, apart from all their prisoners out of jail, abolition of the UDR, the abolition of the Orange State, abolition of the RUC, a permanent seat in government, a constitutionlal link with the Republic, control over police and the courts, the right to self-determination for the Irish people north and south and Darren Gibson et al.

    Most fair commentators woild concede Marty is doing an outstanding job given the – We will smash SF motto – of their partners in government intent on holding up progrees on Education (the unionists are even out of step with the Tories for fecks sake) and the Irish Language and the Maze (though they seem to have given up on that now).

    But as the recent DUP debacle on Parades/Police and Justice illlustrates blocking progress, followed by climbdown, usually just results in another bout of Unionist civil warring.

  • lamhdearg

    how long till a 32

  • Munsterview

    Itwas

    Yeah… but apart from all that, what did the Roman Empire ever do for us….?

  • Munsterview

    Closer than you may think !

    Hint : when you wake up some morning and find all the union jacks replaced by tri-colours and the Israeli ones by Palistinian ones it…… will …..have….. happened.

    Until then very hush, hush I am afraid.

    Nuff said!

  • fin

    I agree with both of you, but its old school DUP that Jimbo can debate with, the poor guy is stuck in 1980 and as long as its a mud slinging debate Jimbo does well, except, he’s a bit Ritchie with facial expressions and has a habit of doing horrid little sneers which doesn’t help his arguements

  • fin

    “It was designed to buy the Provos/SF off, what’s surprising is how cheap it was. Unionists gave away very little compared to republicans who ditched all of their ideological positions on partition, devolution, policing, and so on.”

    To be fair CS, the ideologies are still there, unlike unionism when a Fenian spots a better way to achieve something they’ll change, unionism mantra rubbish “here we stand…..” shows they can’t change.

    Our thoughts on partition are still the same, devolution is a new one, policing, well it wasn’t SF who jumped too soon on that.

    Furthermore, there are now several North-South bodies and more to come, including an all-Ireland infrastructure.

    Its possible that at some stage in the future the TUV or DUP will once again drag their followers out to the side of a hill to wave their gun licenses in the air, but they’ll find it a lot harder to define the targets

  • Comrade Stalin

    That has been the end of empire in every Colonial country so far !

    You’re wrong, as proven by Australia, Canada, Gibraltar and a number of other places. You’re definitely another delusionist.

    “Brits out” isn’t a solution, which pretty much everyone has now recognized. Nobody can argue that the way the unionists were allowed to dominate for so long was justified, but likewise, nobody can argue that replacing it with a system where the unionists are subject to similar domination are any more just. Whatever solution or constitutional scenario eventually results, it needs to be one which respects everyone – including their flags, religion and history.

  • Comrade Stalin

    We have been through this loop a few times, but what the heck … what did the insurgents get from the Englezes,

    The better Monty Python analogy in your case would be the black knight.

    “You’re arm’s off!”
    “No it isn’t”

    apart from all their prisoners out of jail, abolition of the UDR, the abolition of the Orange State, abolition of the RUC,.

    Hilarious.

    a permanent seat in government, a constitutionlal link with the Republic, control over police and the courts,.

    I don’t remember seeing any of those in the IRA’s list of objectives.

    the right to self-determination for the Irish people north and south and Darren Gibson et al

    This wasn’t the self-determination that the IRA fought for.

    It’s none of my concern if you want to delude yourself. It certainly saves the British and the unionists the bother of lying to nationalists and republicans if their own representatives are going to do it for them.

    Most fair commentators woild concede Marty is doing an outstanding job given the

    Which ones ?

    I think he has a lot of good qualities and I have nothing especially negative to say about him, the past is the past and all that. But to call him “outstanding” is the same kind of exaggeration that leads you to describe a partitionist solution with a unionist veto as a republican victory. The devolved administration here hasn’t really delivered anything for people here worth talking about. I hope it improves. It won’t improve if people like you describe it as “outstanding” which implies that you think that there is no room to make things any better.

    the Irish Language and the Maze (though they seem to have given up on that now).

    I think no matter what modest concessions SF manage to obtain you’ll present it as a massive unionist climbdown anyway, so what’s the point in arguing ?

    But as the recent DUP debacle on Parades/Police and Justice illlustrates blocking progress, followed by climbdown, usually just results in another bout of Unionist civil warring.

    I still don’t understand why you think that the parades matter is a DUP problem. Probably because you haven’t explained it very clearly.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    CS,

    ” you to describe a partitionist solution with a unionist veto as a republican victory. ”

    You are just making things up – I have never attempted to suggest that – the GFA was a reasonable compromise .

    “I still don’t understand why you think that the parades matter is a DUP problem. Probably because you haven’t explained it very clearly.”

    Lack of understanding or perhaps denail? t’s not very difficult – see Jimbo’s words below.

    “No matter how much Peter Robinson and the DUP lash out in a fit of pique, the inescapable truth is that it is the DUP which has failed to deliver a better way forward on parading. It was they who promised they’d sorted parading as a quid pro quo over gifting Sinn Fein its demands on policing and justice. Now, we find Sinn Fein got what they wanted but their cheque on parading to the DUP has bounced. In the face of their own lamentable failure they now disingenuously try to pile the blame on others.”

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    fin,

    Jimbo of ocurse has a difficult hand to play, rejected at the polls and his party tettering on the brink of extinction in any debate regarding what he offers the Plain Unionist people of Ulster he will struggle because he cant really offer them anything other than sticking to their, and what used to be, the DUP principles – No terrorists in Government – and that is enoug for some but not for most Unionists.

    As you say “DUP that Jimbo can debate with, the poor guy is stuck in 1980” or the poor guy precoccupied with the 17th century ie parades and that is why Jimbo will do well on this topic which the DUP have so badly fecked up and as was obvious at the time (except perhaps to Pete B. and CS) to simply save their own political asses from what they feared might be a disastrous assembly election.

  • Munsterview

    ComradeC

    OK, leave aside the foregoing, I will give your… 30 September 2010 at 9:22 am……
    response the respect it deserves as the issues raised are too serious for slagging!

    “……Brits out” isn’t a solution, which pretty much everyone has now recognized. Nobody can argue that the way the unionists were allowed to dominate for so long was justified, but likewise, nobody can argue that replacing it with a system where the unionists are subject to similar domination are any more just. Whatever solution or constitutional scenario eventually results, it needs to be one which respects everyone – including their flags, religion and history…..”

    “…. Nobody can argue that the way the unionists were allowed to dominate for so long was justified, but ….”

    It had seemed to me as a slugger reader of some years and it still seems to me as a poster in some of the exchanges that I have provoked here on slugger…… ‘provoked’…… being the operative word, to get a worth while response beneath the ‘political carefulness and correctness’ threshold, that your view is not still generally accepted by the wider unionist community.

    If there is there is not much evidence of it on this side of the divide!

    As ‘granni observed in the Peter Hart postings, a community is a community of interests. In my academic history community and my ‘alternative history circles’ I have plenty contacts from the ‘other side’ … where we can have a free and frank discussion and exploration of attitudes.

    In this context while we discuss politics, it is in the abstract sense as observers and as such we can have fruitful exchanges in regard to background and attitudes as we would have on any other subject.

    As a high ranking UU background Mason, now living in North America remarked to our mutual Templar contact that brought us together some years ago, if he was still at home, the chance of either of us meeting, much less talking and becoming good friends in a non political Irish setting, was virtually nil !

    When these friends and contacts inform me me that there is as yet, in general, no real decommissioning of mindsets on the unionist side, I believe them.

    Occasionally poster such as ‘Big Maggie’ a catholic nationalist married into and obviously tolerant enough of unionist culture to embrace it ( well in bed anyway ) , will say the same thing in a more restrained and nuanced way.

    I do have to give credence to the views of these friends on unionist matters, as they do mine on republican / nationalist / catholic issues.

    It seems that there is no real regret or appreciation in most unionist circles of what was done in the past to northern nationalists, pre 1969 and post 69 to the ceasefire.

    There is rather a realization that the old one sided system of dominance cannot operate in the present situation or continue into the future. The fact that it cannot, arise from the external imposed realities of the GFA rather than any ‘eruka moment’ in unionism regarding it’s own past.

    To give but one example of the continuing polarization….

    Take the issue of Tom Elliots UDR service, I have no problem appreciating that he is seen in his culture as a brave individual that went out as a citizen soldier and risked his life to protect his community as both he and they see it.

    Who in the unionist side of any shade in public life are prepared to accept that Martin McGuiness is seen by his community as having done likewise ?

    How many unionists are prepared to see as the majority on Nationalists do and have proven with their votes, that if we have a ‘ current situation ‘ and a future situation, where nationalists are no longer second class citizens, it is because of what McGuniess and the rest of us did, that this ‘ situation ‘ was created and the old unionist regime was finally and irrevocably ended ?

    The fact that the majority of Nationalists do, as is shown by the % of Sinn Fein votes, still cuts no ice with the likes of Turgon. I recognize that the TUV agenda was rejected by the unionist electorate as a whole, but this I suspect, was done from a pragmatic protestant real politic view, rather than any moral imperatives.

    Many Northerners that I speak to from my side of the divide believe that Turgon, Cambell and Wilson et al are but shouting from the rooftops what the majority of unionists have the wit to say quitely in safe circles where it will not get into the public forum.

    And yes we too on this side of the divide have our greenflag Turgons !

    “…….likewise, nobody can argue that replacing it with a system where the unionists are subject to similar domination are any more just…..”

    That is a statement that I and any republican worthy of the name, accept without any qualifications what so ever !

    Back in the early seventies Rory O’Bradaigh in a speech said that we as republicans did not want to force the Northern Unionists into a Free State, we were trying to escape from that Free State ourselves !

    The exploitation Twenty Six County Country and society for the benefit of the elites of State, FF & FG political and RC establishments is an abomination and a perversion of everything the IRB and the Provisional Government Of the Irish Republic and the revolutionaries of and IRA volunteers of the first and second defense of the Republic fought for.

    We have a Twenty-Six County Republican state on this Island that has now been revealed to be just as generations of republicans, my self included, have said it was, corrupt to it’s core and irreformable to the extent that it needs as radical clear out as was done with the previous corrupt British imposed system that it replaced. Neither FF or FG will do this, they are far too much an integrated part of it !

    The Six-County artificial statlet with yet another ( and latest) artificial system to give some semblance of the normal working politics that the Welsh and Scottish Assemblies or indeed any County Council or Urban District Council on this Island, takes for granted, is moribund and a disgrace. I personally believe that it is also a negation of what the majority of both communities in the Six-Counties expect of it in terms of hope and politics.

    Whatever solution or constitutional scenario eventually results, it needs to be one which respects everyone – including their flags, religion and history……”

    As a historian I look forward to the day when all the culture on this island can be shared as a common ethos. If that means Union Jacks flying in the Boyne for a new twelfth festival, I would not alone not object to it, I would go there and take part in it !

    When at autumn history conference in England and silence is called for to commemorate WW1 dead, at the appropriate time, I have no problem standing in silence and remembering my own two young officer cousins who died in France in British Army uniform or the other ‘forgotten’ southern soldiers of that war.

    I also spare a prayer for their brother who survived and went on to a to become a British Army General, MBE, CBE. ‘ Crossing lines’ and sharing your culture will not be that great a journey for many on the republican side ! In fact rather than any ‘crossing lines’ rather it means a rediscovery and acknowledgement of the real shared cultural ethos of this island as a whole.

    We do not have to reinvent ourselves, merely reconnect with our past in a more generous, all inclusive way!

    If you have not encountered Cpt, DD Sheehan BL, MP ( 1901….18) and the All For Ireland Movement, please look it up. I choose this as a) there is a wealth of material on the Wikipedia on the subject ( thanks to the scholarship and dedication of his grandson ) and b) this was the closest we got to the two traditions working together politically for the good of all on this Island.

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&biw=1017&bih=608&q=dd+sheehan+MP&aq=0&aqi=m1&aql=&oq=DDsheehan+MP&gs_rfai=


    See also DD Sheehan’s ‘Ireland since Parnell’ it is available as a free download, a good read and it is also a good overview of the last two decades of the 19th and first two decades of the 20th century.

    “…..Brits out” isn’t a solution…..”

    No ! Definitely a bridge too far there…… quite simply in these stark economic times we do not have the financial or other resources to retrain a whole generation of Nationalist and Republican wall slogan painters on this Island ! 


  • joeCanuck

    It seems that there is no real regret or appreciation in most unionist circles of what was done in the past to northern nationalists..

    Given you did say most. However, you brought Turgon into the discussion. I don’t agree with a lot, probably much, of what he says but, to his credit, as a major contributor to this site, he has acknowledged on many occasions that there was something rotten about how the previous regime treated the Catholic (for want of a better word) part of the population.

  • Munsterview

    JoeC

    Dancer and dance again !

    Yes as an individual I will concede I could have picked far more persistent offenders than Turgon and In so far as I was incorrect in that and he is owed an apology I have no problem in giving him one.

    Turgon wearing his TUV hat is quite another matter. However we cannot unfortunately debate the issues because as a Sinn Fein supporter, to him I am apparently a lower political life form than he would deem it appropriate to have dialogue with.

    There is the added complications of a language barrier : the fact that I have picked up the odd National and International literary awards aside, I do unfortunately for communication, as he pointed out, use Hiberno English while he uses British English. I am literate in both, at least to the extent that I can read both, he apparently is not.

    Short of Mick adding a translation service slugger and to use one of his Turgons sailing metaphors, he is so fond of, we are apparently destined to be political ships in the night !

    Pity, I cannot even tell him his TUV craft is taking in water and that it is headed for the rocks Not that it would have made any great difference, it was on it’s last voyage to the breakers yard anyway !

  • joeCanuck

    I cannot even tell him his TUV craft is taking in water and that it is headed for the rocks

    MV,
    I have taken that task upon myself.

  • joeCanuck

    MV,
    Don’t you find it interesting that J.Allister and the TUV seem to be in the same place today that I.Paisley and the DUP were, say 20 years ago, and make no real traction? That would belie your belief that unionists do not accept that things were wrong and that we need to move forward, in peace and partnership? A work in progress.

  • Comrade Stalin

    You are just making things up – I have never attempted to suggest that – the GFA was a reasonable compromise .

    You argued that the GFA wasn’t a victory for unionism. I’m arguing that it was. Nationalists and republicans had to concede most of their principles. That’s a largely one-sided compromise. There is nothing wrong with that – indeed it is an admirable characteristic to make such sacrifices for the greater good. Nonetheless, it is dishonest to present it as a victory, which it isn’t.

    Lack of understanding or perhaps denail? t’s not very difficult – see Jimbo’s words below.

    Why should Jimbo’s perspective be viewed as a barometer against which the success of unionism can be measured, any more than the RIRA/32CSM/disso perspective be used as a barometer of the success of Sinn Fein ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    unlike unionism when a Fenian spots a better way to achieve something they’ll change,

    I don’t think that’s true, especially not around education. Or the question of how we address the coming cuts in public finances which we are powerless to stop.

    Our thoughts on partition are still the same, devolution is a new one, policing, well it wasn’t SF who jumped too soon on that.

    No, SF’s position has fundamentally changed. The orthodox republican position is that it is impossible to have lasting peace and stability in Ireland as long as British rule exists, and that partition is an outworking of this. SF’s position is one of acceptance of British rule, attempting (as Sammy is up there) to present it as a victory. Republicans have joined the rest of us in understanding that the British have changed over time as well, and they really can’t be bothered with the aggro and just want an easy life.

    Furthermore, there are now several North-South bodies and more to come, including an all-Ireland infrastructure.

    I have no idea what this “all island infrastructure” you mean is. If you’re talking about roads and utilities, it’s no different from continental Europe. It doesn’t mean that partition is on the way out.

    Its possible that at some stage in the future the TUV or DUP will once again drag their followers out to the side of a hill to wave their gun licenses in the air, but they’ll find it a lot harder to define the targets

    I suspect those days are past. You can’t shut down the power stations if they’re owned by an international conglomerate which can ship in qualified staff from outside – an interesting outworking of globalization.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    CS,

    You do have a habit of tripping over your own shoelaces.

    Firstly you tell me that

    “You argued that the GFA wasn’t a victory for unionism”

    and then you finsih off with

    “Nonetheless, it is dishonest to present it as a victory, which it isn’t.

    Again I never claimed it was victory – the Provos campaign may have transformed Ulster – but the GFA is a compromise – that most Republicans/Nationalists are trying to make work and most Unionists have spent their time trying to wreck – which was the original point made by MV.

    I see you are still denial about the DUP fecking up the parades issue like you were in denial about both governments supporting SF in force feeding Unionism the transfer of Police .

    Are you sure you are in the right party – you do sound so DUP?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Way too long and waffly. Sorry old bean.

  • Munsterview

    joeC

    WARNING : do not get too close to the craft; according to my information there are a lot of undecomissioned old attitudes on board, some could be highly dangerous . For goodness sake if you do find yourself on board, do not touch anything with ‘Dromcree’ marked on the crates.

    These ordinances have proved most unstable and almost exploded in recent years

    Farmer Tom is a trained military man and even he knows better than to touch it and as for the DUP orange ordnance experts, they made several efforts to diffused and have also given up. Old fellow past it, nerves shot etc and looking to retirment on a long bench, young fellow not up to the job.

    Can I suggest you try to get his radio frequency rather than go on board. Oh bugger, just realized the vessel is prior to nineteen twelve and has not even WW2 communications reception on board, never mind digital . These early models were never designed to receive nationalist signals to begin with even if it is still working. Try communicating with flags !

  • joeCanuck

    Very witty metaphor(s), MV. I salute you.

  • Munsterview

    Brian, Canada

    “….Why not try engaging unionists once in a while instead of always pulling their tits ? ”

    Well, see for your self, Cheers!