Calls for withdrawal of NIO may be good for coverage, but…

So Martin wants the NIO (and the Secretary of State) to go away? He also wants a transfer of powers. Hmmm… that would include responsibility for British national security [and that nice shiny new building in Holywood – Ed]. It’s got him a decent amount of headlines, but the SoS (or the BSoS according to the SF presser is not going away this side of a more general departure of British sovereignty

Brian Feeney’s nickname for that particularly office holder is the British Proconsul, that’s a steal from the Roman Empire and refers to a governor appointed by the Senate to look after a province usually for a year. The sovereign parliament here remains Westminster, and we know what happened last time Westminster withdrew to safe distance…

Meanwhile, in real news, and much closer to home in Derry (and North Belfast)… The Irish News in a fairly blunt leader this morning has called for a tough policing response to a resurgence of dissident Republican violence, particularly cross border co-operation between the PSNI and An Garda Siochana…

  • “So Martin wants the NIO (and the Secretary of State) to go away?”

    This sounds like the failed Stepping Stones strategy and a rejection of the 1998 Agreement. Is it a response to dissent within the Republican family?

  • andnowwhat

    Of course, Nevin is right in his latter point. MMG needs to redress all the fluffy stuff he and Mitchel Mc Loughlin has been spouting about the Queen, something Denis Skinner and others feel no need for.

    The game that Mc Guinness and Robinson are playing fools no-one. Just look at the treatment Dolores Kelly got in the chamber yesterday on the topic of “The Gathering”. It was schoolyard tactics at their worst, scoffing something that could bring millions to NI.

  • OneNI

    Pointless posturing from a failed politician
    David Cameron and the Conservatives (inc SoS Owen Paterson) got 36.4% of the vote at the last GE – including over 100,000 votes in NI (0.3%)
    SF got 0.6% and the SDLP got 0.5%
    Liberal Democrats got 23%
    So the Coalition has a clear mandate in the UK including NI and that includes the right to appoint the SoS position.
    Marty can posture all he likes but everyone in NI and the Republic knows he is blowing in the wind

    Funny how Marty is happy to call for the ripping up of parts of the GFA he doesnt like! Suppose it keeps some of his voters happy?

  • “the treatment Dolores Kelly got in the chamber yesterday on the topic of “The Gathering”.”

    I haven’t looked at that, andnowwhat. Perhaps I should – it light of the comments I made about NI’s absence from ‘The Gathering’ on the other thread.

  • Surely Martin and Sinn Fein are also calling for a native in the Office Post. One of the North’s own from familiar political stock all too familiar with the deep seated trauma of radical fundamentalism with crazy non-viable vision/early betas.

    Passion Personified in their Being for the Good of All on a Green and Pleasant Island and Home to Magic Unlimited and already well known 🙂 …… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darby_O'Gill_and_the_Little_People

  • foyle observer

    In fairness, what purpose does the Secretary of State serve these days?

    The last time any of these british ministers in the North made any impact was during the days of Mo Mowlam.

    Redundant position in my opinion.

  • “what purpose does the Secretary of State serve these days”

    foyle observer, the SOS is the intermediary between Stormont and Westminster; he also is responsible for non-devolved issues.

  • raftonpounder

    “what purpose does the Secretary of State serve these days”

    He is also the person who gets to decide whether the Northern Ireland people are afforded the same level of respect as the rest of the UK population and allows us to see who is donating in secret to our politicians.

  • Alias

    Marty and his intelligence ‘contact’ must have had a good laugh coming up with that one. Still, as long as it keeps the ducks in line…

  • Neil

    He is also the person who gets to decide whether the Northern Ireland people are afforded the same level of respect as the rest of the UK population and allows us to see who is donating in secret to our politicians.

    Do you mean dinner for 250 grand, or over-claiming your expenses by 5 grand? It does take a Tory to reveal the passages of monies alright.

    I would imagine the Martin does want Owen to go away, I know I do, but then it looks like we won’t have long to wait. That said one interesting effect, consistently overlooked round these parts, is the conversation in parts of England who’d much rather keep their money for their own country than funnel it off to ingrates in Scotland, Ireland and even Wales (who managed a respectable protest against the queen just last week).

  • dodrade

    Didn’t the Home Office use to deal with Northern Ireland matters at Westminster before direct rule?

  • BluesJazz

    Correct Dodrade.

    We had the excellent and much underrated Reginald Maudling who did a superb job for us. That’s the sort of leadership we need.

    If Owen left, who would be in charge of reserved departments like the MoD, Broadcasting, Foreign Policy etc.?

  • Comrade Stalin

    OneNI

    So the Coalition has a clear mandate in the UK including NI and that includes the right to appoint the SoS position.

    Only an idiot, blind to the ongoing changes occurring in the UK, asserts this kind of majoritarian attitude in modern times. You can’t ignore what is happening in the UK regions by paying attention solely to the way the south of England voted.

    Turning to McGuinness’ point, I think this is just a usual playing to the gallery but looking deeper there is an interesting debate to be had. Abolishing the NIO is an incremental, not revolutionary, step which would return things to the way they were during the lifetime of the old Stormont government. Not something unionists should really have a problem with, especially not if the old Governor post was reinstated (although that does not seem likely to get past SF). I do not really see how stable devolution – arguably more stable now than at any time since partition – justifies having a full time minister at cabinet level for NI.

    It was a bit cheeky of McGuinness to conflate this question with the unrelated issue of what additional powers could be devolved. The reserved and excepted matters, outlined in Schedules 2 and 3 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 +amendments (hah, I nearly wrote “Articles 2 and 3”), lists a fairly wide range of matters that could not sensibly be handled by a devolved government – from obvious things like defence, aviation, international relations, taxation, Company law, munitions/firearms and so on through to less obvious things like space exploration (!!!), status of the Crown, Parliamentary elections, telecoms etc. There may be room for devolving some of the North-South elements but we are really tinkering on the fringes here.

  • emanonon
  • “Home Office use to deal with Northern Ireland matters”

    Presumably MI5 would have close ties to the Home Office and Martin’s references to ‘securocrats’ would refer to that part of the intelligence services. He seems to have dealt more with MI6 and its boss, the Foreign Secretary; perhaps he headed-up the foreign affairs section of the PRM Army Council when he acted as chief negotiator during the political talks. Maybe Mayhew, the then SoS, was left out of the loop re.Hurd-McGuinness conversation back in 1993; either that or he didn’t expect the truth to come out.

  • Barnshee

    Careful —he might take his cheque book with him