So, the Haass talks are to take a break? Well, no. But the DUP have said no to Dr Haass’s first draft:
…he and his team will spend the time furiously drafting a new discussion document for the five Executive parties to study.
The party told him that it could not recommend any single aspect of the draft to its supporters and warned that progress was impossible without its co-operation as the largest party.
“We spelt out our bottom line,” Jeffrey Donaldson, one of the party’s negotiators, confirmed. Gerry Kelly also said that Sinn Fein had “a series of difficulties” with the proposals.
Well, of course there’s certainly a lot of spin around, but it’s odd that the first draft contains so much both main parties are likely to object to. There’s little evidence of any of SF’s own wide ranging proposals arising in the leaks, the sound and the fury that have arisen thus far.
Barney Rowan who seems to have a fair amount of access to talks insiders noted that “Haass and O’Sullivan are not going to produce a ‘Green’ or an ‘Orange’ document, but rather a paper that challenges everyone”.
Well, good. Except that as I highlighted last September what’s missing are the concrete incentives (and disincentives) for the parties themselves to play a value positive game. Pointing to an international treaty, a constitution or even a ministerial code is insufficient to change the game a political party will want to play.
Perhaps Dr Haass has some stealth incentive to make Sinn Fein and the DUP to eat their carrots and greens?
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