Draft CSI document contains yawning gaps. OFMdFM parties fear criticism.

Interesting snippet from Mark Devenport which says an awful lot

The layman might think that the obvious big gesture for Stormont to make would be to publish the long delayed Cohesion Sharing and Integration strategy, a draft of which the BBC obtained back in January.

However, publishing the whole document might be fraught with difficulties.

As the Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness explained at a Stormont Castle news conference at lunchtime, the parties are still nowhere near resolving their differences on major issues like flags, parades and the past.

If a document was published with yawning gaps on these key issues, then it might just invite a wave of criticism.

[The lord forbid there might be criticism! – Ed] Instead Mark notes that “in tandem with any Westminster financial deal, Stormont ministers might try to implement some less contentious community relations initiatives”…

Whatever you’re having yourselves lads. Just so long as you get around to doing something relevant, even something that doesn’t work at the first go…

Otherwise people might begin to ask what’s the point of ye?

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

  • Rory Carr

    In order not to be accused of being “hurlers in the ditch” on this matter why might Slugger not initiate an online forum whereby agreement might be hammered out on “major issues like flags, parades and the past among our readers.

    By such means we could demonstrate to the executive just how simple it ought to be.

    Couldn’t we ?

  • Mick Fealty

    Bloomin’ great idea Mr C!!

  • The Raven

    I’m just wondering – how does one get a copy of this January-leaked draft? I mean, it’s out there…why has it not been posted somewhere? Just wondering.

  • aquifer

    Their hearts are not in it.

    Political turkeys will not be celebrating Christmas.

  • anne warren

    A professional assessment from Queen’s University Management Professor, Richard Harrison.

    He shares his views on the Executive’s long awaited Cohesion, and Sharing Integration (CSI) strategy report at


    He has grave reservations about how it is shaping up .

  • Alias

    “Otherwise people might begin to ask what’s the point of ye?”

    They already know that the point of them is to implement a mutual sectarian veto. The Shinners were elected to stop the Prods from getting their way, and the Dup’ers were elected to stop the Taigs from getting their way.

    Tony Blair deliberately engineered that outcome by doing private deals with the Shinners and the Dup’ers so that the voters would ignore the moderates and ‘peace’ could be made between the two so-called extremes as the axis of internal executive administration. The unionists duly stopped voting for the UUP and the nationalists duly stopped voting for the SDLP, so all went according to the British government’s plan.

    Neither tribe will blink first by re-electing the so-called moderates to the Executive and thereby risking that the other tribe doesn’t follow suite with the lamentable outcome being an imbalance that leads to gains for the other tribe.

    You can’t expect either the Shinners or the Dup’ers to undermine a system that they both prosper under so both of them have to cast the other in the role of tribal threat and their own party in the role of tribal defender.

  • Expat

    I think everyone knows why there is no real progress. Why then is it so hard for them to say what they know? The political parties on one side are in difficulty in pointing the finger directly, needing to keep the power sharing executive from going down the pan when it is the only delicate hope left. But surely commentators have no need to exercise such inhibition. Instead of feigning dispassion and lazily tarring all sides with the same brush, they might do all a service by telling it like it is.

  • Rory Carr

    Great idea, Expat.

    Would you now care to kick off and be first on this thread at least to begin “telling it like it is” ?

  • Neil

    Seems like the major issues are on the Unionist side of the fence. Taken one by one: Parades, there are very few contentious ones remaining, and all of those involve parading through Nationalist areas. There have been precious few parades ‘banned’ such as Drumcree so really from the height of the Orange state when Parades could be held at will Orangeism has given very little away. A tiny number of people are in the OO, while society has to pick up the pieces annualy when the whole problem could be solved by nixing the contentious parades (less than 10 of 2,500).

    Flags. I live in the West. Very few flags to be seen around the place. The Gipsy camp on the Glen has three. There are a couple flying from private businesses such as the Felons maybe one or two outside DC football club. Haven’t seen too many Irish flags in mixed areas. Union flags and UVF flags on the other hand are out there in their thousands. Obviously the flags dispute has had a role in increasing the number of flags about the place, but in general the whole demarcating of territory is and has been a Unionist problem for years. Especially in territory that is not Unionist. 80% of people don’t want any flags and a large number assume any flags they see are erected by paramiltaries.

    Nationalist proposals for dealing with the past (Truth Commission stylee) have been out there for years. Unionists don’t want that for what appear to be two reasons. One is that it would uncover the role of the state. Another is that there would be an amnesty on whoever gives evidence so it would be a get out of jail free card for anyone who appeared. What other workeable solution is there? Ask people to tell the truth and be arrested for so doing? One alternative, anyone?

    It all comes back to Peter’s leadership, which unlike SF hasn’t really been questioned on this site in spite of his flegs dispute behaviour – accusations of Police heavy handedness, leaflet drops, allowing his people to attend very unpopular protests and not forgetting the DUP candidate/terrorist in Antrim who we don’t talk about, preferring instead to discuss the Belfast Tele poll with a sample size of one large family.

    Unionism needs to start prepping their people to understand that when you enter a period of equality from a period of distinct inequality the only loser is the former dominant group. Nationalists were never going to have to reroute parades or remove flags because we didn’t really bother with that crap in the first place. The DUP should be telling their people if NI is to work long terrm they’re going to have to give up some of the dominance based behaviour, like the elevation of their flag to being the only flag allowed or insisting on parading where they are not wanted at huge financial and societal cost. Every single year.

    That won’t happen, so I agree with I think Greenflag. The biggest boon to the runification prospects is the behaviour of our obstinate neighbours. Every flag dispute, contentious parade and Holy Cross (protest?) further demonstrate the fact that the situation as it stands isn’t going to work.

  • ForkHandles

    Just received a message that originated somewhere in Normal Land, reads –
    “FYI flegs, parades and talking about the troubles are not major issues here in Normal Land. They are important and need to be resolved, but major issues are
    Job creation
    Health infrastructure
    Transport infrastructure

    Prioritize time and effort accordingly”

    Message ends…..

  • Barnshee

    “and all of those involve parading through Nationalist areas.”

    Claptrap —The (stupid) parades pass by nationalist areas–.Try Google maps and note how the parades,on main arterial routes pass by the ends not through streets (For the Ormeau dispute- Rutland Balfour etc-)
    For Ardoyne again it would seem that the expression “pass by” would appear more appropriate with Ardoyne on one side and Twaddell on the other

    It would appear “parading through” is a tad misleading

    “Nationalist proposals for dealing with the past (Truth Commission style) have been out there for years. Unionists don’t want that for what appear to be two reasons. One is that it would uncover the role of the state. Another is that there would be an amnesty on whoever gives evidence so it would be a get out of jail free card for anyone who appeared”

    The reason Protestants don`t want a “truth commission” is exactly because of the “amnesty” required.– Hang all the guilty out to dry– without fear or favour. I think you will find the enthusiasm for “truth ” will disappear where there is no amnesty.

  • BarneyT

    Something has just occurred to me. If we take the nationalist\republican culture and then the unionist\loyalist culture, which one, when truly exercised would best integrate with that of the major stakeholder in the UK, England.

    I think the nat\rep offering would be absorbed (dance, music, sports, maybe a bit of drink etc..) however I feel sure that the English could not fathom the workings of the PUL community (and I do generalise).

    Should the PUL community not figure out how they should integrate with most of Britain first as presently they stick out like a sore thumb.

  • GavBelfast

    Yes, you DO generalise big time!

    I, for example, don’t fit into either category, but relate to and enjoy elements of both.

  • DPM84

    Great post Alias, however would it be overly naive to suggest that the polarisation of voting in NI was an unforeseen consequence rather than engineered? Perhaps this is part of a settling in period to a post GFA NI, and will be best judged in 15-20 years time? I would hope that more “moderate” parties would come to the fore sometime in the next decade, but perhaps the dice are indeed loaded against them for any number of reasons.

  • newgal

    RE: “yawning gaps” this certainly made me yawn.

  • Neil[9.40]The tide is ebbing away from unionism and Robinson will be the very last volunteering to be the one to break bad news to his voters knowing the messenger often gets shot. They don’t want to hear it so in a state of denial, [publicly at least]The DUP will continue to ignore the elephant in the room. You’d think the DUP wouldn’t want nationalists to see how desperate they are, knowing what the private polling is telling them, but that must be bad news from the street. The latest stunbt to attempt to assuage the anger of their voters is to have a row with the IFA over the non playing of the anthem at Irish Cup. Pathetic.

  • socaire
  • Expat

    Rory Carr, there is no real embracing of the terms of the GFA by the unionist politicians. They cannot give up the ‘not an inch’ mentality they feel so deeply. They are in power- sharing through false pretences, so that progress – compromise – must be wrenched from them only by the inch. It will be their ultimate downfall, but meanwhile all must suffer the foully divided society we see.

    Their creation of that society during the 50 years of post-partition single-party sectarian rule must surely be a major tragedy to be addressed by any truth and reconciliation commission – it was what brought about the subsequent events. The period will not bear examination, however, and for that reason there will be no truth and reconciliation commission. But it is an episode for which the non-unionists can hardly be expected to express forgiveness.

  • BluesJazz

    GCSE and GCE History examinations set by the local board extensively cover the post-partition era and are taken by all school sectors.
    I think you’ll find that Captain Terence O’Neill and others tried to address the discrimination and voting (among other) issues.
    The person who subverted every attempt to reform (and is now allowed status as ‘peacemaker’) is, with his deputy – now ‘first minister’, among the morons you speak of. But do not abuse those who wanted real change.

  • DPM84[3.40]’….perhaps the dice are loaded against them for any number of reasons’

    The ebbing away of the contrived majority for unionists means increased insecurity, so it’s going to squeeze the lifeblood out of the UUP and to a lesser degree for SDLP for obvious reasons.The nationalist voters can see that they only need to bide their time and when they have a majority of westminster seats that will be a rubicon crossed finally as councils will reflect that also. When a referendum comes about, it will show a small sliver of margin as both sides will test their electoral strength. Poor future for unionism here