The Robinson letter

Before you read the spin, here’s Robinsons letter. I’m only going to point out (the obvious) that you won’t find references to unionists marching with paramilitary bands, DUP MLAs advocating burning tricolours or murder fantasies, unionists rioting, attacking the Mayor, PSNI and (Catholic-owned) businesses or breaches of the Parades Commission determinations.

[For the lazy, I’ve added a tag cloud of the text]

First Minister Peter Robinson
To: DUP MLAs, MPs and MEP

12 August 2013

Dear Colleague

In normal circumstances I would provide you with a briefing at our regular weekly elected members meeting but in spite of it being a holiday month I thought it might be worthwhile if I were to bring everyone up to date with developments relating to the MLK site. I would appreciate it if each of you, in turn, would confidentially brief Councillors within your constituencies.

I am aware that there has been a considerable amount of dishonest campaigning about the Executive’s plans for the Maze site. It is always easy to trade in falsehoods about such matters in advance decisions being made. Given the character of the politicians involved, the intervening period was always going to be used for mischief and cheap, nasty and fraudulent party politics. But then we all know this routine. We had it when policing and justice was being devolved. The UUP and TUV trotted out every scare story they could dream up. They said Gerry Kelly was going to be the Justice Minister. They claimed Martin McGuinness would be appointing and sacking judges. They even alleged that the police and courts would become all-Ireland matters to be dealt with in the North South Ministerial Council. All lies. Has anyone heard them apologise or admit they lied to the public? No. They brazenly move on to the next scaremongering subject without a shred of embarrassment or shame.

Since this present deceitful Maze campaign began we have consistently and frequently stressed that we will not permit any shrine to be erected at the Maze and that no decision had been taken about the content and programme for any new Peace Centre or the use of the retained buildings, but that has not stopped our political opponents from inventing stories and seeking to frighten and raise concerns by agitating those who have suffered most from violent terrorism.

WELL! OUR OPPONENTS DAY IS OVER. I CAN NOW BE CLEAR AND SPECIFIC ABOUT THE ONLY WAY FORWARD THAT I WILL ENDORSE FOR THE MAZE. AS YOU KNOW WE HAVE A VETO OVER THE CONTENT OF ANY PROPOSAL.

But first let me remind you of the history of the project. The proposal to develop the Maze site began during the period when the Ulster Unionist Party was the main Northern Ireland party. David Trimble, the UUP leader, appointed two members to the Maze Panel – one of them, David Campbell (the then UUP Party Chairman) was appointed as the Maze Panel Chairman.

This UUP-led Maze Panel recommended (and the UUP Leader publicly endorsed) a proposal that a range of the existing prison buildings, including the prison hospital, should be statutorily listed and retained. The Panel also recommended (and the UUP Leader publicly endorsed) a proposal to build a Peace and Conflict Resolution Centre and locate it within the retained prison buildings.

As a Victims Commissioner, the present UUP Leader was consulted about the use of the MLK site and offered no opposition to these proposals. In addition the proposals were then supported by the PUP and only one guess is needed to conclude why parties that initiated and supported the Maze project are now conveniently opposing it. No guess is needed to discover why the TUV oppose the Maze project – their default position is to oppose everything.

You already know I would not have chosen the Maze site as the location for the Peace Centre but that decision was taken before I became First Minister. In truth, even now, if it could be removed from the Maze plan and built elsewhere without scuttling the economic development of the rest of the site I would do it.

However, the UUP endorsed decision tied it into this site and that decision can only be rescinded if nationalists and republicans agreed to do so. We all know they will not.

So, by initiating and endorsing the project (even though they now pose as opponents of the scheme for unprincipled party political purposes) the UUP decision has had unalterable and lasting consequences. Once the proposal was endorsed by the UUP and its then leader it became locked into Northern Ireland government policy and as a binding decision it could only be changed by cross-party agreement.

The DUP has consistently opposed the listing and retention of the former prison buildings. Indeed, when my colleagues Jeffrey Donaldson and Edwin Poots formally objected to the retention of the buildings, they stated in a letter to the then Environment and Heritage Service in February 2004 that they were concerned about the impact that the listing of certain buildings at the Maze Prison would have upon the development potential of this site. Furthermore we strenuously objected to the concept of the proposed Peace Centre being located within the retained prison buildings. Unfortunately, as I have stated these buildings have the protection of listed status.

Therefore when I came to office as First Minister I inherited this UUP-led proposal to locate a Peace Centre at the Maze and a legally enforceable listing which required the retention of a range of prison buildings.

At this stage I had only two workable options – the first was to try to decontaminate and manage the UUP-led proposal in a way that would enable the extensive economic development to continue, the second was to block the development of the site and thus forego the potential of 5,000 jobs and hundreds of millions of pounds of investment.

With the level of unemployment and poverty in the Province the latter option was unthinkable and indeed, when challenged, my Maze opponents refuse to say that they would have blocked the economic development of the site.

While the DUP legally cannot unilaterally remove the Peace Centre from the Maze plan our veto does empower us to stipulate the circumstances that must exist and the conditions that must be agreed before such a development can take place. Such requirements mean that the Peace Centre cannot be built until these requirements are met.

Since I became First Minister I have reached several significant agreements on the Maze with the deputy First Minister. We agreed that the Peace Centre should be a stand-alone building rather than being incorporated within the retained buildings as had been suggested in the UUP-led plan. We agreed to it being located away and across the road from the former prison buildings. We further determined that the character and content of the Peace Centre would have to be jointly agreed before construction and operation. We also resolved that any use of the retained buildings had to be jointly agreed.

An additional major step was taken when we agreed that a Maze Development Corporation be established and we passed over to it the land for development subject only to the limited areas where our approval is required. This has permitted the Corporation to start the economic development of the site and already the RUAS project is successfully underway.

On the basis of these agreements I confidently and publicly stated, and can now clearly demonstrate, that the plans for the Maze will not incorporate anything that could be interpreted as a terrorist shrine nor will they glorify terrorism. While such a prospect was always utterly ridiculous given our stand against terrorism and the composition of the MLK Development Corporation our political opponents were prepared to cruelly and falsely exploit the genuine fears of innocent victims by circulating entirely inaccurate and bogus claims about what would be happening on the site.

So what is the basis for further progress consistent with our “no shrine” commitment? There are two elements that have attracted controversy – the new Peace Centre and the Listed Buildings. The two are often mistakenly conflated and confused. So let me deal with them both.

The Listed Buildings

My approach to the Peace Centre and the Listed Buildings is in line with the DUP policy of creating shared space. The MLK site must be shared space – inviting and welcoming to all. The Maze site as a whole must be developed in a manner that gains widespread support throughout our divided community. We need a community consensus about dealing with matters relating to the past.

No matter what approach we take to the retained buildings, and no matter which section of the community a person may come from, everyone accepts that the listed prison buildings are seeping with highly controversial, divisive and painful history and their potential use is charged with emotion. If we cannot yet come to terms and reach agreement in a more general context on how to deal with the past it is improbable that, in advance of that wider agreement, we can reach a consensus on dealing with one of the most controversial aspects of the past.

There is no community consensus about the future use of the retained buildings. The use of these listed buildings cannot proceed ahead of such widespread community agreement. Without that community buy-in not only would the use of the Listed Buildings cause division but that division would quickly transfer to and tarnish the site as a whole. Nobody could believe that this would be a sensible way forward. So in the absence of widespread cross-community agreement on how the Listed Buildings might be used we are prohibiting any public use of these buildings.

The Peace Centre

By its name and nature a Peace Centre should not and must not be a controversial building. Far from glorifying terrorism a peace centre is about ending, preventing and exposing the deeply painful and divisive legacy of terrorism. A Peace Centre advocates the use of exclusively peaceful and democratic means to resolve disputes.

I believe the International status we could create would allow us to attract delegations from around the world to study conflict resolution and the ending of violent struggles across the globe.

The centre could also be the hub for the Shared Society programmes we have already announced and those others that will be launched in the future.

The present controversy relates (beyond the irreversible UUP decision to locate it at the Maze) to how the story of the Maze site or more broadly the history of Northern Ireland would be told by any exhibition or display or guided tour of the facility. The truth is that the Peace Centre need tell no such story.

Internationally the story of Northern Ireland is one of hope and inspiration. There are many hundreds of communities and regions across the globe at risk of conflict, experiencing conflict or emerging from conflict. Many of these regions look to the experience of Northern Ireland for help and support.

The Centre could maximise the opportunities that arise from this interest and bring new employment and investment to Northern Ireland through what is an export industry. This international industry is growing significantly and Northern Ireland is perfectly poised to maximise its unique place within this market.

None of this requires any exhibition, tour, display, museum, memorabilia, material or presentation of Maze or Northern Ireland historic content. The Peace Centre could have facilitated international exchange, education, research, teaching and learning, along with programmes relating to a shared future for Northern Ireland. It would not portray any version of our history nor would the Centre propagate any party political dogma. I am committed to the building of a Peace Centre but only on the basis that it is genuinely non-partisan shared space and it has widespread support throughout the community. Northern Ireland would be a laughing stock across the world if its Peace Centre was the cause and source of division.

And there the problem arises! Given the behaviour of Sinn Fein unionists just do not believe Sinn Fein is committed to creating and maintaining this kind of genuinely neutral shared space at the Maze. But the project will only work if there is endorsement from both sections of our community. Frankly, it is not for me to change this perception – I share it – Sinn Fein must convince unionists that they are serious and sincere.

If every Executive party was acting in good faith and wanting to move forward rather than constantly foraging into the past and seeking to airbrush foul elements of history whilst attempting to put a sanitising gloss on their heinous crimes, then things might be different.

But events of recent months and in particular the insensitive attitude displayed by Sinn Fein towards the innocent victims of IRA terrorism has seriously damaged community relations and set us all back in terms of promoting genuine reconciliation and building a shared future. This includes the Sinn Fein promoted decision to remove the Union Flag from Belfast City Hall on all but designated days; the Sinn Fein led decision to name a children’s play park in Newry after a dead IRA terrorist who was convicted of possession of a weapon used in the Kingsmill massacre; the admission by Sinn Fein that they have lobbied the Parole Commissioners to seek the release of dissident republican terrorist prisoners; Sinn Fein’s provocative and aggressive behaviour towards unionist culture and loyal order parades and latterly and most recently, the disgraceful decision by Sinn Fein to hold a coat-trailing parade in Castlederg to glorify IRA terrorism and deliberately cause further hurt and pain to the families of the 29 innocent victims murdered by PIRA in that area.

These actions expose a lack of maturity and commitment to genuine reconciliation. The contrasting and contradictory speeches by Declan Kearney and Gerry Kelly only serve to expose the fact that Sinn Fein is trapped by their own warped self-serving mantra. They talk of the need for ‘grown up politics’ but then seek at every opportunity to justify the vile and heinous crimes of the IRA and to rewrite the history of the troubles in a vain and pathetic attempt to portray the IRA’s actions as somehow justified. Do they not realise that their glorification and justification of IRA terrorism only serves to encourage those who today would take up arms in opposition to the peace process? They cannot face two ways at the one time. Sinn Fein must support genuine efforts to promote healing and reconciliation. There can be no halfway house on these matters if the hopes for peace of the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland are to be fully realised.

For the centre to be successful in promoting peace and reconciliation there must be a broad consensus about how it will operate. We have consulted widely and it is clear that the necessary wide-ranging consensus does not exist at present. It is my view that it would be wrong to proceed in the absence of a much broader consensus. Further consultation, discussion and negotiation will be required to enable progress on building peace, dealing with the legacy of the past and achieving a greater level of reconciliation. Clearly, the prospects for building a Peace Centre are inextricably linked to such progress.

The DUP is committed to participation in the Haass initiative and we hope that genuine steps can be taken to build a shared future. However, this will require a change of attitude by Sinn Fein, especially towards the innocent victims of IRA terrorism.

In the course of this briefing I have several times referred to the need to gain widespread agreement and a broad consensus. I should perhaps explain how I believe we should gauge such a level of support. While there is no precise formula that can be adopted it means more than the support of our own party. It must be a consensus within each and across both sections of our community and in my view that must include both victims who have been traumatised by the conflict, and security force personnel who have paid such a high price for their bravery.

If and when we ever reach the time when we need to arrive at a conclusion on this matter I believe we should consult widely and perhaps set up a representative working group to make recommendations.

In conclusion and in summary – We have established a fundamental principle that the Maze site must be developed as shared space. If people will not share a street or road it is self-evident that more work is needed to ensure equality in the way that the concept of shared space is taken forward.

Whatever decision others may take, as First Minister, I have set the limits of my position and that of my party I have provided some considerable detail about our intentions relating to the development. I wanted you to be up to date when the matter becomes public to answer any questions about our position.

Sincerely

Peter

, ,

  • redstar2011

    Imho SF not only wont walk away – they cant walk away

    After selling so far short of a reasonable settlement, their administration of British rule up at stormont- which they feebly try and dress up as a step towards unity(!!!!!!!)- is all they have left. They have nowhere else to go

    I am pretty confident other Republicans (sf have this idea if youre not a Shinner youre not Republican) can definitely highlight the farcical and pointless position sf are now in, sitting at stormont with partners who have well and truely shafted them and with whom they can make no credible deals

  • Comrade Stalin

    FDM, your wild-eyed predictions are sounding pretty silly. You must have a pretty contemptible view of the “CNR community” (whatever the hell that means) if you think they think and act with a hive mind over whatever SF’s plans for the Maze were.

    We don’t know what Sinn Féin’s side of the deal was, but it stands to reason that there was something.

    redstar2011, I’m inclined to agree with the idea that it’s difficult to see how devolved government can be sustained with this kind of breakdown.

    Although it will be funny to hear the DUP and UUP announcing details in due course of their electoral pact for 2015, and possibly even 2014.

  • Tir Chonaill Gael

    Comrade – is that definitely on the table and, if so, where are we talking about: North/South/East Belfast, FST, Strangford?

  • Neil

    Girdwood has to be part of the deal. Any other day of the week you’d expect them to be up in arms over that. They weren’t, why?

  • FDM

    @Reader

    If NI does not work how does that hurt Sinn Fein? If NI is proved [demonstrably so] not to work how does that hurt republicans? I have asked it before but are SF interested in making NI work? Is it in their interests?

    The unionist peoples ONLY roll of the dice is if NI works for the CNR community like they all won a golden entrance ticket to Willy Wonkas Chocolate Factory.

    Does it feel that way to you at the minute?

    Seriously the middle ground pro-union people must be pulling their hair out, screaming at this latest DUP missive from the Supremacism Bunker “you stupid bleep bleep bleep bleep, bleep bleep ” “Can’t you see that’s exactly the bleeping opposite we should be bleeping doing you stupid bleep bleep bleep bleep, bleep bleep bleep, c word plural.”

    Don’t get me wrong, this is a plague on both our houses in the short to medium term. Its a disaster for both sets of fans. However strategically this move is nothing short of the end of unionism. It literally shoots every potential unicorn in the face. No union, no unionism.

    The DUP have done it again. A catastrophic strategic defeat from the jaws of victory and all born of nostalgia for the unionist hegemony years….

  • redstar2011

    Regardless of SFs reaction- and I reckon they will basically carry on as normal and ignore the fact their partner has bitch slapped them- I am confidentthe continuing trend esp amongst younger voters in Rep areas of abstaining will increase.

    If this nonsense has highlighted one thing its that Stormont doesnt work. How in gods name can you operate a coalition where one party will renege no matter what deals, compromises etc you reach

  • FDM

    Comrade Stalin 15 August 2013 at 9:51 pm

    “FDM, your wild-eyed predictions are sounding pretty silly”

    —————————
    As events unfold we will have empirical evidence as to how silly those predictions really are and so we will not have to take an APNI “shaky” word for it.

    Are those comments as silly I wonder as Naomi Long and her researcher Christopher Madden making very condemnatory comments about the Castlederg parade this week and uttering not a single syllable of complaint about the UVF march IN HER CONSTITUENCY in April?

    Funny how APNI are self-serving hypocrital bigots isn’t it?

    So in conclusion why don’t you, Naomi and Christopher run that half-assed doggerel down the road? Not the Newtonards Road obviously, we don’t want to interfere with the UVFmarches.

    And try and make some points next time. You rarely score, but Jesus loves someone who at least tries.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I’m not sure if you remember or not FDM but Alliance Party members have been under threat from loyalists and Naomi herself received a death threat, which to my knowledge still hasn’t been lifted. I think your comments are sad and misguided.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Tir Chonail Gael,

    Entirely speculation on my part, but it seems reasonable to guess that the DUP will offer the Mike Nesbitt a free run in the only majority unionist Westminster seat they do not hold, namely North Down. Which, bizarrely, Mike has a chance of taking as Sylvia has been indicating that she may stand down in 2015 (of course if she doesn’t, she’ll retain the seat). In exchange I would imagine the UUP will stand aside in all the DUP-held seats.

  • BluesJazz

    CS
    If direct rule comes in and imposes the 1967 Abortion act, gay marriage, water charges etc… Bring it on.

    Rule from the National Parliament in Westminster is cheaper than the corrupt little parochial fiefdom we have at present.

    How can it be ‘joint sovereignty’? That cannot happen.

  • Mc Slaggart

    BluesJazz

    “How can it be ‘joint sovereignty’? That cannot happen.”

    Yes it can.

    Gibraltar: Peter Hain says joint sovereignty plan has ‘no negatives at all’
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/spain/10226888/Gibraltar-Peter-Hain-says-joint-sovereignty-plan-has-no-negatives-at-all.html

  • @Mc Slaggart,

    ‘“How can it be ‘joint sovereignty’? That cannot happen.”

    Yes it can.’

    Explain, please. Sovereignty (lordship) is the monopoly on legal authority in a given territory. A government can voluntarily agree to share rule in a territory as was proposed by the New Ireland Forum, but ultimately one of the two governments must retain sovereignty.

  • Robinson has now clearly indicated that the current arrangement cannot work with his party as one of the two principal partners. But he has given no indication as to what he believes will work. If he cannot come up with a viable alternative, then he, obviously, is of no use and he should retire to the comfort of the House of Lords. It will be an earned retirement even though he has been unable to stand up to the naysayers in his own party. He has either not been donated the undated resignations from Paisley or he hasn’t the balls to use them. Living well out competes any other choice.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Comrade Stalin

    Did:

    ” Naomi Long and her researcher Christopher Madden making very condemnatory comments about the Castlederg parade this week and uttering not a single syllable of complaint about the UVF march IN HER CONSTITUENCY in April?”

    The fact that loyalists put people under death threat is all the more reason why she should have complained about the UVF parade.

  • Mc Slaggart

    tmitch57

    “Sovereignty (lordship) is the monopoly on legal authority in a given territory.”

    No country in the EU has the “monopoly on legal authority in a given territory.”

  • FDM

    Comrade Stalin 15 August 2013 at 10:44 pm

    “I’m not sure if you remember or not FDM but Alliance Party members have been under threat from loyalists and Naomi herself received a death threat, which to my knowledge still hasn’t been lifted. I think your comments are sad and misguided.”

    —————————

    Tangential disingenuous twaddle.

    MMcG has been subject to a death threat since March from dissidents, as well as the subject of the same from the same source going back years.

    The point is so what?

    What has that got to do with Naomi and her researcher taking to twitter to vehemently condemn the Castlederg parade and not uttering a single word about the UVF celebrations on the Newtonards Road, in HER VERY OWN BACK YARD?

    Not a word.

    Hypocritical, self-serving, one-sided, partisan bigots. APNI at its self-serving best.

    Seemingly APNI don’t really do principles, scruples or consistency.

  • Comrade Stalin

    What makes you think that Naomi’s not putting out a statement at the time means that she must have supported or somehow had no opinion on the parade ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    BluesJazz

    How can it be ‘joint sovereignty’? That cannot happen.

    Sure it can. They can reactivate the provisions of the Anglo Irish Agreement. They can fix it so that the Irish government are consulted on all the major legislation planned for NI. It’s not joint sovereignty but it’s certainly not something unionists want.

  • tacapall

    The Sovereignty issue is being well and truly sorted by bureaucrats in Brussels, our laws, financial affairs, human rights and security will all be administered by a foreign parliament under the new show in town called the “pooling of sovereignty” Ireland will become one country under that deal just as Scotland, Wales and England will all become autonomous regions in that same European union that Ireland will also belong to but there will be no autonomous Northern Ireland, people would still be able to claim a British nationality but they will just be British people living in Ireland claiming social security off the same Brussels parliament as those who claim their nationality is Irish in Ireland.

    Unionism has lost the plot in the last few months they have gone into the moraliser mode demanding the right to be defined the victim, nationalists and the rest of the world are being expected to accept this as fact else we be defined like holocaust deniers. Unionism in turn exposes themselves as the biggest hypocrites, indeed a mirror image of Sinn Fein who see no wrong in acting in the same fashion as the unionist party of the 60s, I can see the unionist/loyalist point of view regarding the Castlederg parade, they are supposedly a government for all the people Im sure Nationalists would be up in arms if the DUP organised a parade to commemorate killed UVF or UDA members who were on their way to murder Catholics but unfortunately they have on occasions supported such commemorations. Their ability to turn a blind eye to their own insulting insensitive behaviour on society is shocking. This attempted diversion by Peter Robinson to deflect attention from the antics of unionism and loyalism and their continued compulsion to stamp their feet and use violence or the threat of it at the drop of a hat to any perceived dilution of their special privileged lifestyle, and this is pandered to by the British government, shows the world that they are unfaithful, untrustworthy, lack integrity and like their masters perfidious albion cannot be trusted to honour any commitments they make.

    The ludicrous decision by the parades commission to allow an orange parade by people from outside that area down Clifton street past a Catholic place of worship where the orange orders have continuously broken the law regarding their behaviour outside that church but not allow a parade by the very residents of that same area, who have broken no laws, because it passes an Orange hall shows how really politically controlled the impartial parades commission is by the British government, the appeasement to the worst elements of loyalism and unionism is a recipe for disaster and a situation II fear that is deliberate and provocative

  • FDM

    @Comrade Stalin 16 August 2013 at 9:28 am

    What makes you think that Naomi’s not putting out a statement at the time means that she must have supported or somehow had no opinion on the parade ?

    ——————————-

    No evidence to that in the public domain from a public representative who has access to ALL media platforms to make sure her position was clear and known.

    All we have is her and her researchers own publicised one-sided conflict commentaries. They made their partisan position very clear by their own actions and omission to act.

    Therefore the charge of hypocrisy and self-serving bigotry hangs around the APNI neck like an albatross.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Comrade Stalin

    “What makes you think that Naomi’s not putting out a statement at the time means that she must have supported or somehow had no opinion on the parade ?”

    That is “tacit” approval in light of her actions in relation to Castlederg.

    I personally would rather their was no parade in Castlederg but due to parties like Alliance not complaining about UVF and other parades I had no grounds to say anything other than it should be allowed.

  • Neil

    It’s doubtful Naoimi would be out to irritate her electorate any further after being unjustly blamed for the fleg removal. That’s just politics. Her chance of reelection isn’t great but complaining about UVF parades would be enough to reignite the mob.

  • FDM

    Neil 16 August 2013 at 10:40 am

    “It’s doubtful Naoimi would be out to irritate her electorate any further after being unjustly blamed for the fleg removal. That’s just politics. Her chance of reelection isn’t great but complaining about UVF parades would be enough to reignite the mob.”
    ————————————–

    Neil that is not news.

    You either have principles or you do not.

    You are either a hypocrite or you are not.

    Naomi has proven herself by her actions and omissions to act to be a hypocrite, whose principles are subject to electoral expediency.

  • Mr Joe. What if the Castle derg ‘coattrailing was a trap that SF set for Robbo to see if he would fall gratefully into it,which he has done. By his action he’s now proved he’s damaged goods, aznd no DUP negotiation to save Stormont will work with him at the helm and the DUP know this. Robbo has put out the feelers that they’re privately still committed but playing for time and how many votes can they rescue by appearing to do that. They tried stalling on |Policing and Justice devolution but had to capitulate on that in the end. It’s all over for Stormont and back to indirect rule. Proof finally of the failed state’s ultimate faultline.

  • Greenflag

    Although the GFA & Stormont is the only game in town perhaps it’s time to end the charade before SF become the majority party simply for the sake of maintaining the peace .

    Joint authority until such time as political unionism accepts it’s role as the minority it always was on this island so I’d guess that should bring us to about 2113 I’d imagine 🙁

  • Greenflag

    @ FDM ,

    ‘Naomi has proven herself by her actions and omissions to act to be a hypocrite, whose principles are subject to electoral expediency.’

    Thats more than harsh FDM 🙁

    I’m trying to think of any politician anywhere whose ‘principles ‘ were not subject to political expediency . They’d never get elected otherwise not in any democracy I know of anyway .

  • FDM

    Greenflag 16 August 2013 at 11:02 am

    @ FDM ,

    I’m trying to think of any politician anywhere whose ‘principles ‘ were not subject to political expediency . They’d never get elected otherwise not in any democracy I know of anyway .

    Thats more than harsh FDM

    ——————————————

    So her defence is that she bent her principles for political expediency and me pointing that out is “more than harsh”.

    I see.

    Alternatively Naomi and her reseracher Christopher Madden could have kept their twitter mouths shut [like they did over the UVF celebrations] and not made themselves look like bigoted hypocrites.

    Hence Naomi and co. could then have maintained that their deeply held political principles were not bent/fractured/off-loaded and remained intact, that they were not hypocritical and that they were entirely consistent without partisanship.

    Or am I being too harsh with the application of fact?

  • ayeYerMa

    The Provie supporters and terror-appeasers going buck mental on this thread is absolutely HILARIOUS!!! A good indication that peter pulled a blinder!

    Perhaps now Republicans might learn that they will be punished for not keeping their side of deals. If the Secretary of state and PSNI not going to uphold the law concerning glorification/support of terror then Unionist politicans will have to respond in kind.

  • Rory Carr

    Quite an interesting reading of what I believe is called the situation you have given us, Aye Your Ma. I hate to be picky but your last sentence just doesn’t make any sense. Perhaps you might like to rewrite it or explain what it is you intended. How precisely are “Unionist politicians” going to respond to the Secretary of State and the PSNI and what do you mean by “respond in kind” ?

  • Greenflag[10.53] I expect Marty will realise he’s got zero credibility hanging on at Stormont so he’ll wait until the scheduled return there next month and declare it void.If the DUP jettison Robbo then or later, elections will then be surely unavoidable as the St Andrews deal will fall null and void as well and the
    GFA will be the default rollback. SAA was only ever a figleaf to get DUP onboard the process, so it is now redundant.

  • Error at 12.12; There won’t be elections to stormont when/if marty puils plug, just return to direct [or indirect] rule

  • Comrade Stalin

    McSlaggart,

    That is “tacit” approval in light of her actions in relation to Castlederg.

    You don’t think it’s possible that, for example, she might have been unavailable to make a comment at the time, and that this is why Chris Lyttle and Judith Cochrane were there to get the Alliance position across ?

    You can’t think of any reasons why a person might not be able to comment ? Personal circumstances for example ?

  • FDM

    Comrade Stalin 17 August 2013 at 3:08 pm

    You can’t think of any reasons why a person might not be able to comment ? Personal circumstances for example ?

    ————————–

    And the radio silence from her assistants, researchers at the time?

    Followed by the very front foot comments from all of the above APNI personnel on twitter about Castlederg?

    Wise up CS. When you are in a hole stop digging.

  • Comrade Stalin

    No hole being dug. If failing to release a statement about the UVF parade in East Belfast indicates that Alliance are sectarian raving bigots, then can we say the same about Sinn Féin whose elected representatives, from what I can tell, made no serious comment on said parade ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    BTW assistants and researchers generally don’t comment in public without some kind of permission.

  • FDM

    Comrade Stalin 17 August 2013 at 3:58 pm

    No hole being dug. If failing to release a statement about the UVF parade in East Belfast indicates that Alliance are sectarian raving bigots, then can we say the same about Sinn Féin whose elected representatives, from what I can tell, made no serious comment on said parade ?
    —————

    I don’t think SF came out and condemned the Castlederg parade either CS.

    I think that’s called consistency and prevents you being called a hypocrite.

    Just to be clear.

    SF did not complain about the UVF parade.
    Neither did SF complain about Castlederg.

    Naomi and her researcher(s) condemned the Castlederg commemoration only.

    Now anything else you need me to clear up there for you?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Daniel,

    Powersharing is kind of central to the GFA, so without an assembly and devolved government you really have nothing. Intensive talks are the only way the thing is going to be recovered.

    I am almost at the point where the powersharing project looks to be dead as trust between the two parties now seems to have broken down to the point where it is hard to see how it can be salvaged; the DUP are clearly no longer able to honour the deals that they make. I’m not quite ready to admit that yet, because the implications of abandoning powersharing are extremely serious – not least for unionists because it seems to prove the old republican position that Northern Ireland is a failed state which cannot be governed. One way or another the unionists will have to make relatively modest concessions; it will either be at the behest of the British government, or done in an agreed fashion across the executive table but they have to stop with this pretense that they have a veto.

  • Comrade Stalin

    FDM,

    Yes, I’d like you to clear up one matter for me. The SDLP condemned the Castlederg parade; but they did not condemn the UVF parade in East Belfast – the only comment I can find from them is the complaints about the flags. Alliance made similar complaints.

  • CS[4.10] ‘a failed state which cannot be governed’ Looks like the further erosion of the contrived majority will see even more instability by the centenary year and then any pretence by unionists to allow fair play in cultural expression for the ‘no longer minority’, will go out the window and a permanent state of flux will become the norm for the remainder of NI existence.civil war cannot alas be ruled out.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Daniel,

    2016 doesn’t even bear thinking about.

    I suspect the Alliance and SDLP reticence to outright oppose the UVF parade in East Belfast earlier this year is to do with the fact that we are in a decade of centenaries where republicans are undoubtedly going to be organizing events to celebrate 1916 and so on. Castlederg was not a centenary parade and it involved an organization whose victims are still dealing with the pain it visited upon them.

  • FDM

    Comrade Stalin 17 August 2013 at 4:17 pm

    FDM,

    Yes, I’d like you to clear up one matter for me. The SDLP condemned the Castlederg parade; but they did not condemn the UVF parade in East Belfast – the only comment I can find from them is the complaints about the flags. Alliance made similar complaints.

    ——————————–

    The SDLP are spineless hypocrites? Now that is a surprise.

    Now what has that got to do with certain APNI elected representatives and their researcher(s) demonstrating that they are self-serving, hypocritical bigots?

    Obviously Naomi and her assistant have libel law to fall back on if they think my comments are UNFAIRLY defamatory.

    I won’t hold my breath on the writ.

  • redstar2011

    So Marty will lecture the faithful this evening on how bad, untrustworthy his Dup partners are BUT will lack the ballz to say thats it folks we are out of here

    Though lets be honest- its hardly surprising from a man who years ago accused Nat opponents of being ” career politicians”- then made a pathetic attempt himself at going for THE career politician post of President!!!!

    Its a fact that he has never held high office in his own city- why? – simply because the Derry ” wans” know hes never to be trusted ( hes been parachuted into here there and everywhere but never big time in Derry)

    Marty will now tell us why his coalition partners lack credibility yet why hes staying in there with them. A cynic may think his speeches are almost written for him by a foreign power…..

    Remind us again Marty. You say it’s now ok/ imperative to work for British security services, exactly when did you start……

  • IJP

    FDM

    Naomi didn’t condemn it because her colleague, Chris Lyttle MLA, had already consistently and vociferously (and courageously) condemned the flags associated with it (and by extension the modern UVF’s link both to the parade and the symbols around it).

    To be clear, the party said the Castlederg parade should not take place, not that it should be banned. This was on the basis that it was bad for community relations locally. I would have been a bit harder than that personally, but it still sounds pretty reasonable to me.

  • Comrade Stalin

    FDM, it’s interesting that you apply different criteria to Alliance than to the SDLP when both parties condemned both events in almost exactly the same terms. But then again, Alliance has prods in it so I opposed that makes them one step closer to UVF apologists.

    Libel law doesn’t apply when you’re criticizing a politician over a political matter. But if it did, why would someone waste time pursuing a libel case on the prattlings of an attention-seeking anonymous blowhard posting from the safety of his keyboard ?

  • FDM

    @IJP

    “Chris Lyttle MLA, had already consistently and vociferously (and courageously) condemned THE FLAGS associated with it”

    ———————–

    Unless I am mistaken I was talking about parades, not flags. I won’t be taken down a convenient side road.

    My accusations of hypocritical, self-serving, bigotry on the part of Naomi, her researcher and hence APNI still stand.

  • Rory Carr

    Will someone please remind me how many elected representatives the APNI has inT yrone or indeed anywhere west of the Bann for that matter.

  • FDM

    Comrade Stalin (profile)

    17 August 2013 at 6:24 pm

    “it’s interesting that you apply different criteria to Alliance than to the SDLP when both parties condemned both events in almost exactly the same terms.”

    All my posts related to parades. You made some disingenuous and tangential comments that the SDLP and APNI might have criticised some flags. Yes? No it won’t do. No not at all. Not with an old hand at that sort thing like myself. Lets stick with the subject at hand shall we.

    “Libel law doesn’t apply when you’re criticizing a politician over a political matter.”

    I also criticised her researcher. Keep up.

    “an attention-seeking anonymous”

    If I were seeking attention, then surely I should post under my name so that I may to bathe in my victories both here and beyond? Does that not seem logical?

    “blowhard”

    Yes the whale analogy is a bit harsh. I am back to pre-season training on Monday

    “safety of his keyboard”

    I did live on the murder mile for 25 years. They have allowed me to post in safety because of time already spent in the combat zone. Think Memphis Belle.

    Now any more insults for me CS or can we get back to APNI, Naomi and her researcher being hypocritical, self-serving bigots?

  • Comrade Stalin

    FDM, no I’m done. You’ve happily made my point for me.

    Rory – none. Since when is it necessary to have representatives in a neighbourhood in order to comment on things that happen there ? This was a local event but the nature of it had regional significance.

  • Rory Carr

    Only asking, like.

    And of course it is true that the Castlederg commemoration acquired regional significance, a status which, alas, has somehow eluded the Alliance Party.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I don’t see how a commemoration like that could not acquire wider significance. SF are going around the place complaining about provocative and offensive marches and then they go and stage one themselves.

  • Morpheus

    “I don’t see how a commemoration like that could not acquire wider significance”

    In the same way as the parade in Coleraine didn’t until very recently?

    I have yet to meet anyone who actually supported the Castlederg parade. SF simply used it as a vehicle to highlight that rank hypocrisy and double-standards still exist in NI

  • Neil

    I have yet to meet anyone who actually supported the Castlederg parade. SF simply used it as a vehicle to highlight that rank hypocrisy and double-standards still exist in NI

    Precisely. And further assisted by the internment parade. Unionists suddenly get the concept of banning parades on public order grounds.

  • redstar2011

    If theres any equality ( though highly doubt it) that comes out of Haass as regards parades ALL commemorative parades remembering ANY armed group responsible for violence involved in our conflict must be treated equally.

    This of course cannot happen as loyalists can point to Brit Army parades being allowed unhindered across UK.

    Just another example of why settling for the internal deal they did SF sold us all so very very short.

  • BluesJazz

    British Army homecoming parades (and associated events) do not figure on the radar of any talks. They are solely a matter for the Ministry of Defence.

    Actually the MoD, quite sensibly, decided to hold them in Carrickfergus and Ballymena in recent years to avoid controversy. Armed Forces day was a successful carnival style event in Carrickfergus.

    SF know that the only legitimate defence forces in Northern Ireland are the British Army garrison, Royal Navy and RAF.

    Any wish to compare them with illegal terror groups is just a wish. The GFA cemented the British Army garrison here as the (only) lawful defenders of this state. And that’s a fact.

  • redstar2011

    Well its also a fact that the BA were an armed group who used murder and terror just like other groups

    We saw unionists bleating re a parade related to those who inflicted terror on their community- sauce for the goose