Leaders’ Debate-Martin and Peter’s Tour De Force: is resistance futile?

The UTV Leaders’ Debate was held tonight and, as a spectacle, I have to admit to finding it fascinating. Heat was finally generated in this election campaign, with the two leaders of unionism having a stand up shouting match over Tom’s suggestion that Peter had a crush on Catriona.

The Executive’s internal divisions were borne out in Peter and Martin’s patronising praise for David’s willingness to play ball whilst the two loners (Tom and Margaret) were chided for their insolent ways. The boot was put in repeatedly to Tom for his party’s foolish flirtation with UCUNFery, an exchange which provoked the loudest applause of the night from the audience- an ominous sign for the fledgling leadership of Elliott.

The only hint of an outbreak of hostilities along the traditional orange- green lines came when both unionist parties intimated that the Catholic Church and nationalists should have agreed to a single education system from the foundation of the northern state. However, both McGuinness and Ritchie ducked from this engagement, leaving it to Noel Doran of the Irish News to deliver a robust defence of educational choice in the post-match analysis.

Ken Reid got it right in his post-debate analysis when he gave the nod to McGuinness and Robinson as both oozed the type of self-confidence that comes from knowing they are days away from another electoral victory within their respective communities.

McGuinness displayed an ability to speak fluently the post-peace process language in a manner that remains alien to Gerry Adams, and his commanding stature, coupled with frequent nods to the achievements of  ‘Peter and I,’ illustrated just why Sinn Fein were correct to let Adams sit these debates out.

Peter Robinson clearly relished the occasion, with his body language exuding a sense of comfort and self-confidence, pouncing on both Elliott and Ritchie (and Ford over water rates) whilst maintaining an unspoken allied front with McGuinness.

Indeed, as if to illustrate their more sluggish performance, both Ritchie and Elliott missed the opportunity repeatedly to suggest to Peter and Martin that they get a room to consummate their relationship.

After the debate, Peter Robinson himself helpfully tweeted (and without humility) putting himself first alongside Martin McGuinness, with Tom Eliott (unsurpsingly) coming in last in the First Minister’s opinion. There might be no praise like self praise, but this time he got it just about right.

  • granni trixie

    Have to agree about Martin. I was even charmed (a first for me) at his aspiration to go down the path of further education (one of the few to leave Long Kesh without a PHD?).Cannot agreee about Robinson – for much of the debate he looked knackered!

    And Chris you missed mentioning the scoop of the evening – Alliance were included.

  • pippakin

    I thought McGuinness and Robinson looked like the adults of the group, both seem to have grown into their position with some grace.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Granni
    Regarding Alliance’s inclusion: cui bono?

    McGuinness and Robinson, I’d suggest.

    Both were able to buffer their perceived alliance by utilising Ford’s willingness to play ball within the Executive, in contrast to Elliott and Ritchie. And they were able to highlight Alliance’s foolhardy commitment to Water Rates, the bogey man of this election campaign, to suggest that, while David might be alright, he still needs straightened by the long arms of the twin officers of the law.

    As Jim Allister suggested in the mini-debate held afterwards, Robinson clearly feels he is to gain by (however cynically) flirting with Alliancesque vocabulary, and being seen to work with Ford as well as remain an OFMDFM partner with McGuinness will not hamper his electoral ambition of further squeezing the UUP.

  • iluvni

    Some people continued to watch that tripe after 10 minutes?

  • The Raven

    “as both oozed the type of self-confidence that comes from knowing they are days away from another electoral victory within their respective communities.”

    Bit of a shame, that. Meet the new boss – the same as the old boss.

  • Driftwood

    It was shit.
    Why did no-one ask Robinson how old the Earth is? Or his views on the scientific fact of Evolution.
    Can he dodge Evolution the same way he dodges financial deals with developers and the sexual escapades of his wife?
    All given an easy ride, so to speak.

  • The Raven

    Drift…thanks for that ride analogy there. I now have an image in my mind. It doesn’t sit well with dinner. :-/

  • sdelaneys

    granni trixie.
    “…one of the few to leave Long Kesh without a PHD?…”
    Are you suggesting that the dear, loyal deputy something of somewhere was in Long Kesh?

  • dennis the menace

    Elliott was VERY poor, shockingly poor from the start.

    Was he nervous? I dont know, but he seemed like a little boy forced in front of the school assembly

  • 241934 john brennan

    Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone.
    It’s with O’Leary in the grave.
    Sinn Fein is dead and gone.
    It’s now the Peter an’ I party.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Agreed with Chris’ analysis. I have said before that I regard Martin McGuinness as a fine statesman, I think we will have a better Assembly term without Gerry Adams interfering.

    Each passing day I’m getting more and more convinced that Margaret Ritchie is an disguised android undergoing some kind of malfunction.

    The parties are all determined to duck the issue of water charges. Alliance are taking a bit of a risk by marking this up prominently, but I imagine the hope is that people will set it against the disaster we had with water that occurred early this year. People do need to understand that if they want public services they must pay for them, either with increased taxes of some kind, or with cuts elsewhere and it is disingenuous of people to try to suggest that it is possible to avoid this. As for squeezing more money from the Treasury – are they really likely to look more sympathetically at our funding when we trumpet about how our household taxes are lower than anywhere else in the UK ?

  • Driftwood

    apologies Raven, I can only blank what must have been going through your mind.
    It was a sterile debate-as you would expect- and will not affect any result. Robinson still comes across as a dalek. A briefed dalek, but he’s deffo not very human.
    Elliot came across as a farmer, Ritchie as a pastiche, McGuinness as a Nick Clegg like sponsor to his master’s voice. Ford was not for upsetting any gravy train applecarts.
    So it goes..

  • Alias

    Well, it’s great that CD digs the Smashy N’ Nicey double act but your economy is still sliding ever-deeper into the ****. How about judging the two old ponces on somethong other than their dubious showmanship, such as performance for example>

  • ayeYerMa

    I’d have to disagree with Chris’s analysis that “The boot was put in repeatedly to Tom for his party’s foolish flirtation with UCUNFery”.

    The Conservative link-up IMO was one of the most sensible things that the UUs have done recently. The debate illustrated perfectly how the botch was made of it entirely from the parochial UU side.

    The Conservatives are in government and having to make cuts because the Socialists that went before wanted to spend on everything but not pay for it (I absolutely hate all this disingenuous parochial talk of “Tory cuts” that we get in NI). Then we have the UUs half in government and half out voting against the same cuts that are a sensible inevitability. It is obvious that the UU leadership have never had enough intelligence to maintain their side of the UCUNF alliance.

    A good outcome would be if the UUs were to just disband completely and the NI Conservatives proper to put in a big drive to kick-start normal and realistic centre-right politics in Northern Ireland.

  • granni trixie

    I actually think that Alliances emphasis on pushiing for a fair system of payment of water charges is one much of the public understand. I also feel pretty sure it is inevitable that they will be introducecd.

    (and for obvious reasons I was assuming that DFM had spent time in jail).

  • nightrider

    I see Catherine Wylie, writing in the Independent, has an interesting take on the wilting support for SF in the mid-Ulster area.

  • nightrider
  • Drumlins Rock

    trixie, alliance might well be right, a fairer system is need, ie. many business and community groups are subsidising domestic customers atm. so a women’s hostel is subsidising the sprinklers on those big houses I have been canvasing! We need the full details and work out how best to pay.

    ayeYerMa, many of those big houses tell us they are Sinn Fein, and the most posative response we get are in working class areas, but I don’t see them going for some new NI Tory Party, it hasn’t worked before and is unlikely to in forseeable future.

  • 241934 john brennan

    With “Peter and I” politically and publically cohabiting, surely it was insensitive of TV producers not to give them a double room to themselves?

  • separatesix

    The unionist parties let themselves down in the debate by slagging each other off. They should do it behind closed doors not in front of a live audience from the waterfront with an Ogra Shinn Fein rent-a-crowd.

  • “I regard Martin McGuinness as a fine statesman”

    You cannot be serious, CS 🙂

    If the new Executive is much like the old then we can expect more of the same shenanigans that we’ve witnessed during the course of the past four years; the Alliance Party will provide a thin film of jam in the Chuckle Brother sandwich. And governance sleaze will continue with limited exposure by the MSM. What a state we’re in 🙁

  • DC

    All given an easy ride, so to speak.

    I agree with Driftwood – all 5 parties will likely be in government next time round and there was too much mutual backslapping going on.

  • “Tour De Force”

    Typo, Chris? Tour de farce would be more apt. Resistance may prove futile but it will continue!!

  • “both [Robinson and McGuinness] oozed the type of self-confidence”

    A cheeky little number from Ken Reid 🙂

    Ooze has a whiff of mire and stagnant water with a hint of something that is faintly repellent. [source – Merriam Webster dictionary]

  • andnowwhat

    I always find the body language between responses (which are usually predictable) the most interesting. It was very chummy indeed.

  • Politico68

    Comrade Stalin

    ‘Each passing day I’m getting more and more convinced that Margaret Ritchie is an disguised android undergoing some kind of malfunction’.

    I have 15 stiches in my side from a recent op. They are all bust now as the above comment has had me laughing hystericaly for about 5 minutes solid!!

  • Politico68

    Nightrider

    ‘I see Catherine Wylie, writing in the Independent, has an interesting take on the wilting support for SF in the mid-Ulster area.’

    She speaks to a handful of extreme republicans and you think this is a reflection of…

    ‘….wilting support for SF in the mid-Ulster area.’

    Get serious man, SF got 52% in the 2010 election, highest vote ever in the constituency.

  • Zachariah Tiffins Foot

    Robinson lapped up the ‘I agree with Nick’ petting from McGuinness. If there was justice in the world the DUP would pay for this flirtation in the same was as the Lib Dems have. However, sadly, unionists who will vote have nowhere else to go given the Unionist Party’s car crash, the TUV are loons and unionists (unlike Nationalists) have never voted in any significant numbers for ‘politicians’ linked to murder gangs – currently dormant or otherwise.

    So the DUP will get the vote even though Robinson’s waltz with PIRA turns the stomach of many of those self-same voters.

  • alex gray

    Did you notice how Peter Robinson turned towards other candidates when they spoke and smiled, grimaced nodded in disagreement and so forth – this was Nick Clegg’s tactic in the Prime Ministers TV debate last year – obviously he models himself on Clegg and his promises I suspect are of the same calibre – none will be kept if he is returned as First Minister. When will people get real and catch on to teh fact that the DUP and Sinn Fein as lead parties in the Executive have done virtually NOTHING in the past four years. At the height of the economic crisi the Executive did not even meet for 6 months – how many jobs did that cost ?? Did anyone see David McNarry’s comment in News Letter that the electorate could force the parties to work together better by making them more equal in the number of MLA’s ? This might be a game changer and stop this DUP and Sijnn Fein do-nothing government.

  • the lone ranger

    i thought the debate all in all just about sums up the politics of this country. if that debate is anything to go by how on earth is stormont going to work in the new term thats looming??. chris donnelly talks about peter and martin winning, chris exactly what did they win? they have no viable politics or policies, jump from one argument to another and basically try to talk down ones oponent does not inspire me to think these people are capable of running a country in difficulty. its like this if they win we lose.so the joke is well and truly on us here. wee footnote i thought robinson came across as very arrogant, and smug. the problem with this all is, and should be worrying for the dup, the middle class unionist is traditionally low turnouts at elections, and they have become a party that working class unionists dont reckonise. do working class unionists / protestants really care who is first minister? maybe the bogey man card has gone

  • Comrade Stalin

    ayeYerMa:

    The Conservative link-up IMO was one of the most sensible things that the UUs have done recently. The debate illustrated perfectly how the botch was made of it entirely from the parochial UU side.

    No, it was a completely ridiculous idea and it turned out exactly as many of us predicted. We all knew that the UUP had zero interest in non-tribal politics, and that is underscored by the way the UUP are running their current election campaign.

    The plan wasn’t botched from the UUP side – they got what they wanted ie Ashcroft’s cash. It was, on the other hand, botched from the Tory side – the Conservatives were really stupid enough to believe that they could jump into bed with this bunch of disorganized neanderthal flat-earthers and expect them to actually run a successful election campaign. I still have no idea what Cameron hoped to gain from the whole thing, apart from a couple of seats. I sense that the whole escapade has brought him abruptly down to earth.

    The Conservatives are in government and having to make cuts because the Socialists that went before wanted to spend on everything but not pay for it (I absolutely hate all this disingenuous parochial talk of “Tory cuts” that we get in NI).

    I accept the idea that Labour were deeply irresponsible with the economy (although Tom Elliott’s attempt to accuse the DUP of propping up the Labour government was patently ridiculous).

    But in terms of where we go from here, fundamentally, the argument you are making stands up only if you accept the Tory narrative that deep cuts and austerity measures now are necessary to underpin and grow the economy later. Many of us are not convinced that this is the case. Other countries throughout Europe and the world are taking a rather more relaxed attitude to their levels of public debt, and are taking a rather more long term view about getting it paid off. It took us five decades to pay off our debts to the USA following WW2. It didn’t hamper economic activity while we did so, indeed the initial borrowing helped us recover and rebuild our economy.

    So on a very simplistic level, the idea that it is bad to pay money in interest to bondholders which should instead be spent on cutting taxes or investing in public services does make sense – but it is simplistic. Pulling money out of the economy now, when it is underperforming, may well damage the prospects later.

    Then we have the UUs half in government and half out voting against the same cuts that are a sensible inevitability. It is obvious that the UU leadership have never had enough intelligence to maintain their side of the UCUNF alliance.

    I think the UUP have played their hand badly and will suffer for it.

    DR:

    trixie, alliance might well be right, a fairer system is need, ie. many business and community groups are subsidising domestic customers atm. so a women’s hostel is subsidising the sprinklers on those big houses I have been canvasing! We need the full details and work out how best to pay.

    The fundamental detail here is that it is going to be increasingly difficult to make the case to the Treasury for increased investment when we insist on passing on the Treasury grant in the form of reduced household taxation rather than making any tough decisions by ourselves. It is irresponsible for the four large parties to try to hide this fact from people.

    Water charging seems to be something that resonates people, almost like the idea of privatizing the NHS (which I would completely oppose, I might add). People say that you shouldn’t have to pay for water as it is fundamental, but I’m not sure I agree. Which would you notice more – a power cut or a water cut ? We don’t talk of perpetual unmetered electricity. As you have said, we need to see the full plan with particular emphasis on how people on low incomes can be supported.

    Nevin:

    You cannot be serious, CS 🙂

    I am very serious.

    If the new Executive is much like the old then we can expect more of the same shenanigans that we’ve witnessed during the course of the past four years; the Alliance Party will provide a thin film of jam in the Chuckle Brother sandwich. And governance sleaze will continue with limited exposure by the MSM. What a state we’re in 🙁

    I am optimistic that things will continue to improve.

    You surely have to agree that the MSM are starting to get more strident, and they will need to continue to do so to compete with the bloggers and to try to sell more newspapers/advertising spots. I’m optimistic that there will be some kind of deal over education and the proposals for a new stadium.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Zachariah:

    So the DUP will get the vote even though Robinson’s waltz with PIRA turns the stomach of many of those self-same voters.

    Robinson has won two elections on the back of powersharing with SF. You’re a brave man to predict he won’t win a third.

    lone ranger:

    When will people get real and catch on to teh fact that the DUP and Sinn Fein as lead parties in the Executive have done virtually NOTHING in the past four years.

    I don’t think it’s fair to say they have done “nothing”. Keeping the show on the road for those four years is in itself a pretty major achievement.

    I think the voting public will permit the DUP/SF axis to chalk up the last assembly term as a honeymoon. From hereon they will be expecting delivery.

  • the lone ranger

    Did you notice how Peter Robinson turned towards other candidates when they spoke and smiled, grimaced nodded in disagreement and so forth – alex i noticed it and just thought what is he doing. arrogant and smug.

    to margaret ritchie i thought the comment that sdlp will never be back at the head of the executive was a disgusting putdown. when commentators are trying to say that peter and martin won the debate is this the reason? well i say if this is the quality of the leader of the country i say with One who said this 2000 years ago. My God MY God why has thou forsaken us?

  • Cynic2

    It wasn’t really fair for Tom. There were no questions on chicken cage sizes and policy on slurry disposal.

  • the lone ranger

    lone ranger:

    When will people get real and catch on to teh fact that the DUP and Sinn Fein as lead parties in the Executive have done virtually NOTHING in the past four years.

    I don’t think it’s fair to say they have done “nothing”. Keeping the show on the road for those four years is in itself a pretty major achievement.

    comrade stalin i dont think i ever said they have done nothing.

    and if its only success is that they kept the show on the road for four years well thats hardly achievement. (maybe it was kept on the road was because if it wasnt their salaries wouldnt bepaid and everyone knows they wouldnt like that)

  • the lone ranger

    I think the voting public will permit the DUP/SF axis to chalk up the last assembly term as a honeymoon. From hereon they will be expecting delivery.

    but heres the thing comrade on what basis on the previous term can we expect them to deliver on the incomming one?

    have you seen something in the last 4 years that i havent? please enlighten me

  • Comrade Stalin

    lone ranger, my apologies, I mixed up your comment with that of Alex Gray.

    and if its only success is that they kept the show on the road for four years well thats hardly achievement.

    I don’t agree at all.

    Is it a major achievement ? Yes. First time since partition that we’ve had a stable powersharing government. There are many faults but the stability is there and I think it will get better.

    Is it acceptable for the two parties to rest on their laurels ? No way. The time for delivery comes in the next term. I don’t think they will get away with saying to the electorate in 2015 that their prime achievement is keeping the government going.

    (maybe it was kept on the road was because if it wasnt their salaries wouldnt bepaid and everyone knows they wouldnt like that)

    I don’t think that’s fair, there was a long period where salaries were not paid. Ministerial salaries certainly weren’t paid for many, many years.

  • Comrade Stalin

    but heres the thing comrade on what basis on the previous term can we expect them to deliver on the incomming one?

    I have no basis other than a feeling. A couple of things I’d cite :

    – Gerry Adams is out of the way. Now that he has a hobby being a TD in the Dáil he doesn’t have to amuse himself by engaging in silly brinkmanship up here.

    – there aren’t going to be any more elections until 2015. That gives our politicians time to make a few tough decisions without having to look over their shoulders.

    – both the DUP and SF are likely to peak. I don’t think either of them will lose seats overall but they will sense that to expand their appeal they will need to do more.

  • the lone ranger

    maybe it was kept on the road was because if it wasnt their salaries wouldnt bepaid and everyone knows they wouldnt like that)

    I don’t think that’s fair, there was a long period where salaries were not paid. Ministerial salaries certainly weren’t paid for many, many years
    comrade i could be wrong here but its my understanding that during the supension of stormont salaries were continued to be paid. (in fact if you remember right when the new deal was done in 2007 peter hain threatned to end the salries if the deal wasnt achieved. now the reason i say slaries were continued to be paid is because if hain threatned this that they would be stopped during supension they must have been being paid to them) i could be wrong so im of to google it lol

  • the lone ranger

    Further Stormont Expenses Revealed

    Many of Northern Ireland MLAs still claimed office expenses during the suspension of devolution, it has been revealed.

    Details of claims made by Assembly members between 2003 and 2008 have been published for the first time, and show most continued to receive the maximum £48,000 for office costs.

    The devolved government was suspended in October 2002 and despite an election in May 2003, the institutions were not reinstated until another election in March 2007.

    Direct rule was imposed when then Secretary of State John Reid dissolved the local Executive’s powers.

    All claims made by MLAs during this time were approved by the Assembly and complied with expenses rules.

    Monies were used to pay office rents, cover staff salaries and facilitate equipment.

    Sinn Fein members were the highest claimants for administration charges. Party president Gerry Adams was reimbursed £17,000 for secretarial services in 2005/06. The same year he paid £9000 for rental costs on a property in west Belfast.

    During this period Peter Robinson, the then DUP deputy leader, paid £5,600 to his party for office rental.

    theres one comrade

  • the lone ranger

    so not only paid but were able to claim office expenses

  • Comrade Stalin

    comrade i could be wrong here but its my understanding that during the supension of stormont salaries were continued to be paid.

    They were cut back after the executive wasn’t restarted. And ministerial salaries were not paid as there were no ministers.

    I think it’s quite right that MLAs were able to claim office expenses. The Assembly was suspended but they were still MLAs and were still running a constituency service throughout suspension. A great proportion of the work done by our elected reps does not involve the Assembly at all.

  • Comrade Stalin

    BTW this whole business of SF wanting to see a referendum. It’s notable that McGuinness has made little mention of this.

    I’d stake my wig that the referendum idea came from Adams. There is no conceivable purpose to it other than antagonizing the unionists, which McGuinness has shown that he is keen not to do.

  • the lone ranger

    there aren’t going to be any more elections until 2015. That gives our politicians time to make a few tough decisions without having to look over their shoulders.

    – both the DUP and SF are likely to peak. I don’t think either of them will lose seats overall but they will sense that to expand their appeal they will need to do more.
    my answer to your first repley comrade , another term could just about put us to the wall, and i really do not have confidence or even a bit of confidence that they can do anything for this country.
    your second maybe thay have peaked and your assesment is spot on but unfortunateley even though it has peaked the dup and sinn fein will get in and they really dont need to take anything further to maintain their status quo.

  • the lone ranger

    BTW this whole business of SF wanting to see a referendum. It’s notable that McGuinness has made little mention of this.

    I’d stake my wig that the referendum idea came from Adams. There is no conceivable purpose to it other than antagonizing the unionists, which McGuinness has shown that he is keen not to do.

    again comrade spot on. peter and martin , dup and sinn fein are the real coalition in stormont now. if anything last nights debate showed that very clearly.

  • the lone ranger

    but heres the thing comrade on what basis on the previous term can we expect them to deliver on the incomming one?

    I have no basis other than a feeling. A couple of things I’d cite :

    comrade. i rather would have something else to go on that a feeling. i like your posts and have a lot respect for what you say but i cant go on a feeling. sorry

  • “I am very serious.”

    I’m very sorry to hear that, CS.

    “I am optimistic that things will continue to improve.”

    I’m confident that the DUP-SF ‘dictatorship’ will continue; I’m disappointed that AP is prepared to give it cover. But then again AP failed to step up to the mark on the relatively simple Rathlin ferry saga/scandal.

    As for the media, Ó Muilleoir’s grand project – one of a series – and his arrival as an additional NIW NED were exposed on Slugger O’Toole but largely ignored by the MSM.

  • Comrade Stalin

    lone ranger,

    A feeling is the best that we can do at this point. I don’t think the DUP/SF axis will destroy the country. I think they’re getting better but they have a long way to go.

    Nevin:

    I’m very sorry to hear that, CS.

    I am long past the point of expecting you to be objective on any matter, so I am very happy to disappoint you.

    But then again AP failed to step up to the mark on the relatively simple Rathlin ferry saga/scandal.

    You may be able to amuse yourself by being some sort of modern day Hetty Wainthrop, but nobody gives a stuff about your stupid ferry “scandal”.

    There is certainly a general problem with civil servants making decisions, sometimes apparently corruptly, without consulting on them first (the decision about Red Sky seems to be another example), we will have to hope that will approve and hold our politicians to account when it doesn’t.

  • alex gray

    The decision to get the extremes to come togetehr was made by the NIO in 2001. It took them 6 years go get the two together to form a government. Then that governemnt did nothing for four years. Are you counting? So while all this doing nothing was going on the world slipped from boom into recssion and investment money from overseas which would have rebuilt Northern Ireland dried up. So now we are facing cuts instead of money from America or Whitehall. These slow learners are just too expensive. We cannot afford this do-nothing option of putting them back in again. I am increasingly drawn to McNarry’s suggestion that if the parties were more equal, then they would be force to work together and put the horse before the cart for a change – like getting a Programme for Governet before we get a budget to deliver it? What exactly is this budget delivering if there is no Programme for Government to underpin it ? By the way why are Sammy Wilsiona dn Gregory Campbell still double jobbing ? is it the pension fund ? Have they been advised to do so by their fund managers ?

  • Lone ranger [2.24] That was borne out at Hillsboro talks on Policing last year when the 12 snowy men caved in after Robbo took them toone side and explained slowly, the consequences for theioir holidays if they walked out. Gregory and Nigel have been rather low key since then, it”s been noted.

  • Zachariah Tiffins Foot

    CS,

    You misread my post. I have no doubt that the DUP will be returned as the largest party. I simply suggest that many of those voting for it are not enamored with it powersharing with SF.

  • “nobody gives a stuff”

    CS, speak for yourself 🙂 If we’d had more competent elected representatives and a more investigative media perhaps some of the problems that were identified in the early days of the last Executive wouldn’t have kept reoccurring.

    “a general problem with civil servants making decisions”

    Interesting speculation, ‘Hetty’. You could just as easily have said that there’s a problem with Ministers making decisions. Low grade audit trails have made it difficult to apportion blame for questionable actions.

  • Munsterview

    John B…. :

    “Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone.
    It’s with O’Leary in the grave.
    Sinn Fein is dead and gone.
    It’s now the Peter an’ I party….”

    Romantic Ireland dead and gone,
    It is with O’Leary in the grave,
    Then Yeats what gave that Easter Dawn
    A hue so radiant, brave.

    Romantic Ireland is not dead,
    O’Leary lies in fertile ground,
    And poems and spears throughout the years
    Spring up where patriot graves are found.

    Post Easter Week Joyce Kilmer asked and answered Yeats assertion in his poem Easter 1916, the first and last verse of which I have given.

    Currently a one man show is touring around Southern Ireland to sold out performances. It is on the Great Retreat, the life and times of Donal OSullivan Beara, Lord of Beara, Lord Admiral Of The Spanish Seas and last Field Commander of the Munster Field Armies in the Elizabethan Wars.

    He is commemorated and celebrated, a living legend among his people in Beara and among Irish People nationally and internationally. Who now aside form academics remembers, Willmot, Mountjoy or Spenser or the servants of Empire who left a trail of blood and slaughter in Ireland in furderance of Plantation and Empire?

    When the Munster poet Owen Rua O Sullivan see the ‘Forest of ship masts’ along the quaysides in London for the first time, he realized the power of England and sat down in despair. Then or reflection he delivered this…..

    Greece and Spartan in the dust
    Even might Rome was but a day
    And it may be the English too
    They will go the same way.

    Another of the Old Munster Bardic prophecies from somewhere around the time of Colmcille

    When the birds of paradise begin to crow,
    then England’s flame is burning low !

    The .Birds Of Paradise’ have been crowing on Englands streets for many a long year now and many of my thinking English friends anticipate Iraqi type street conflict at home and having spoken to some of the muslem radicals over the years, with regard to their attidute to England, they make ‘The Dissidents’ seem like Sunday school kids, Republicans want Irish freedom, these want an Islamic Republic in England and are prepared to fight and die for that on the streets of England.

    We may yet have cause to sing that song made famous by the ‘Wolf Tones’ ” Thank God we are sorrounded be water ” with gratefull gusto !

    John, some friendly advice, stay with the bible, when it comes to Irish poetry quotes there is far more there to back up my viewpoints rather than yours !

    Fraternal greetings also to all old comrades reading this, we may not yet be where we wanted to be, but we are a lot closer to it than many a pre ceasefire Good Friday when you and I went out with Lily Boxes prepared for the inevitable harassment and arrest.

    Last night’s debate between Martin and Peter may not have set the North on Fire but let us not also forget that there was a time when such an encounter and the resulting clash between them would have done just that and not only done that in the literary sense it would have also done it in the literal sense also.

    Mainstream Republicans have also come a long was and accomplished a lot of political gains, the rest can be done through politics and in the words of Bobby Sands we will then indeed have freedom in our children’s laughter.

    Meanwhile as to John B. to paraphrase from that book he is fond of quoting from, ‘ He like the poor we will always have with us’

  • Comrade Stalin

    You misread my post. I have no doubt that the DUP will be returned as the largest party. I simply suggest that many of those voting for it are not enamored with it powersharing with SF.

    It’s a weird idea to suggest that people voluntarily come out to vote for a party when they are not enamoured with the single most significant political decision it has taken in its entire history, when they could instead have voted for one of the many parties opposed to powersharing. I don’t buy it – I prefer to believe that most DUP voters are people who either don’t like it but trust the leadership, or who think that opposition to powersharing is pointless and want politicians to get on with it.

    Nevin, you are welcome to continue believing what you want to believe. I hope it gives your life some meaning.

  • the lone ranger

    the terrible thing with the threads on here that near to a man everyone is saying the same thing. the current axis of dup/sinn fein and we have no doubt that is the true coalition government arent very good. i dont lnow if anybody watched the lesser party debate but eamon mccann (a man who endears himself to me) said a wee comment right at the end. it was this the dup are a worthless party you only have to look at unionist areas to see this. what have they done for the working classes in northern ireland? spot on eamon!! now arlene foster and i quote her said that years ago it was young catholics who were in danger of being unemployable now its young protestants. well arlene i have news for you. the dup have been going for 40 years so did they forget young protestants during this period??? they have been the largest party for 8/9 years now did they not have the foresight to see this was happening? well you dont see much of them these days in working class areas so maybe they didnt!! the horse has bolted arlene the stable door needed to be locked some time ago. but no matter what happens in this election and maybe the dup will get their wish as the largest. this is as good as it gets for them. the up and comming generation (thank God) will not be fooled by their politics and to quote a famous republican (shame on me lol) we will have freedom in our childrens laughter!) free from fear of a republican first minister or nationalist one for no one will care. free from their shackels and the fear they built up over 40 years to st. andrews.

  • FuturePhysicist

    I don’t buy into personality politics.

  • “continue believing what you want to believe”

    CS, it’s more a matter of good governance and justice for the victims of bad governance. The fact that St David has joined St Martin and St Peter in some unholy alliance or other impresses me not one iota; their charm offensive is simply – offensive.

  • Munsterview

    Future Ph….

    And in my four decades of public life I have seen many fine politicians and indeed other professionals also fail to impact or motivate people precisely because they did not have a personality or at least a suitable one for public interface.

    Agreed, the medium should not be the message, but in this media age with so much else competing for brief attention spans, politician must first sell themselves before than even begin to sell their product.

    The personal lives of some Northern Politicians may have captured the lurid red tops in one particular case as private activity exploded into the public arena. In the South I heard very little condemnation of the activity per se, just expressions such as ‘sure they are human after all’ ……..’ would you ever have thought that they had it in them’…….. ‘there is hope for them yet’ etc.

    It may have a personal and family tragety for all concerned but it did also humanise and invoke sympathy and indeed empathy for politicians who would to then have been seen in a very unattractive light down here.

    Ah well, not much chance of Marty having a bit of a fling at this stage I suppose so he is as good as it gets for us regarding ‘colour’ !

  • 241934 john brennan

    Munsterview: Last night we actually witnessed the suurender of the “Ourselves Alone” party and also heard and witnessed the consummation of the “Peter and I” party.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Munsterview: Last night we actually witnessed the suurender of the “Ourselves Alone” party and also heard and witnessed the consummation of the “Peter and I” party.

    So the SDLP talks about reconciliation and sharing, but recoils in horror when it sees it in practice. What a shock.

  • pippakin

    241934 john brennan

    Last night we actually witnessed the suurender of the “Ourselves Alone” party and also heard and witnessed the consummation of the “Peter and I” party.

    No we did not what we saw was that rare thing in northern politics: two adults debating and working for the good of all of the people.

    It just may be that, sadly, its harder for some to recognise that than others.

  • Munsterview

    JohnB :

    Noted !

    However (and very thankfully indeed ) your perspectives of politics and reality do not seem apply to many more than your good self.

    Do please keep up the negativity : we all need reminding of what Pasley was like in the Old Days regarding Sinn Fein and Republicans, it is a positive affermation as to how far we have come……….. and where some people still are in their thinking !

  • Comrade Stalin

    lone ranger:

    the current axis of dup/sinn fein and we have no doubt that is the true coalition government arent very good.

    Yeah, that’s true. But it’s early days and on one level it’s not fair to judge them on that level this early. And besides, the alternatives are riddled with incompetence and incoherence. Both the DUP and SF have been showing leadership and taking risks. It’s not enough in the long term, but it’s good enough for me to take a bet on them going further.

    It is of course right to say that there will come a point when people get tired of there being no delivery and there is a real threat that people will move their votes to another credible alternative. When that happens these two main parties will be threatened with a choice; they can change or die. We’re not there today but I believe we are just around the corner from this happening.

    it was this the dup are a worthless party you only have to look at unionist areas to see this. what have they done for the working classes in northern ireland? spot on eamon!!

    It’s quite correct, of course then again it is those same working classes who keep on endorsing the DUP every election.

  • vanhelsing

    MV as usual I agree with some of your analysis. You’re right some radicals would like to establish a caliphate if they could, to a certain extent British governments have only themselves to blame for a whole host of reasons.

    As to the great republican dream, are you sure you don’t mean the great German dream:)

    VH

  • 241934 john brennan

    Mu. Given that Sinn Fein support of, and for, Provo violence was directly and indirectly responsible for 3,500 murders in the North – and others abroad, like the deaths of 300 women and children, sheltering in a church in Ballavista, Colombia, when killed by an IRA patented “barrack burster” mortar bomb – the fact that Provo imported Libyan Semtex is still being used in the North –SF’s persistence in denials of Provo involvement in the Northern Bank robbery (£26m never recovered and used for what purpose?) etc – it is difficult to be positive about SF’s present bona fides. They speak of changed tactics, from physical force to politics – not of remorse for the murdered.

    When Paisley demanded symbolic sackcloth and ashes from Provisional leaders as a sign of genuine conversion, he had a good point – but the lure of First Minister’s post was too tempting. As John Hume predicted long before the GFA, “Paisley wants to be Prime Minister.”

    So your negativism is my realism – and reserved judgement. Perhaps the leopard can change its spots – but until it happens it would not be prudent not to get into the same cage with one.

  • the lone ranger

    it was this the dup are a worthless party you only have to look at unionist areas to see this. what have they done for the working classes in northern ireland? spot on eamon!!

    It’s quite correct, of course then again it is those same working classes who keep on endorsing the DUP every election.

    yes comrade that may be the case in the past and most recent past, but very lately the working class turnout in working class unionist areas has been dropping. disenfranchised from politics they have become

  • the lone ranger

    When Paisley demanded symbolic sackcloth and ashes from Provisional leaders as a sign of genuine conversion, he had a good point – but the lure of First Minister’s post was too tempting. As John Hume predicted long before the GFA, “Paisley wants to be Prime Minister.”

    totally agree john brennan. that and a promise of a baroness for eileen. i have nothing against mrs paisley but can anyone please tell me what she actually did or done to be a baroness??? what was exactly negotiated at st andrews?

  • the lone ranger

    lone ranger:

    the current axis of dup/sinn fein and we have no doubt that is the true coalition government arent very good.

    Yeah, that’s true. But it’s early days and on one level it’s not fair to judge them on that level this early. And besides, the alternatives are riddled with incompetence and incoherence. Both the DUP and SF have been showing leadership and taking risks. It’s not enough in the long term, but it’s good enough for me to take a bet on them going further.

    comrade i like your posts as i have said before, but i asked you a question were is the basis for your optimism with regards sinn fein dup based on the last 4 years?? you told me you had a feeling, im sorry but i need to be more convinced than your feeling. again if you feel they have been good fair enough , your entitled to your opinion and have every right to have one, but i just dont see it but stand to be corrected if you can enlighten me. but a feeling it will work from the foundation that has been planted thus far i am not optimistic.