Jim Allister issues TUV’s Twenty-Two Theses critiquing the Haass/O’Sullivan draft agreement

Jim Allister has nailed the TUV’s 22 point analysis of the Haass/O’Sullivan draft agreement to the wall their website. In amongst the reiteration of TUV policy and ideology, Jim Allister does raise good points about:

  • the exclusivity of political representation on the proposed quangos (restricted to parties remaining in the Executive);
  • the difficulty some current politicians would have to commit to support every decision of the present Parades Commission;
  • the potential for the replacement parading bodies and process to reduce the number of parades through bureaucracy;
  • the lack of detail on the recruitment and cost of the Historical Investigations Unit; and
  • the lack of support for families and victims of post-1998 paramilitary attacks.

I doubt if any of the Executive parties will make their list of concerns public.

[It would be useful if someone could estimate the cost of setting up, staffing and running the new organisations proposed in the draft agreement to allow comparisons with existing bodies and the status quo of continuing to investigate the past and police NI in the absence of fresh ideas.]

– – –

TUV’s analysis of the Haass proposals

General observations:

1. Throughout the document there is not a single acknowledgement that for 30 years we faced a campaign of vicious terrorism; instead “terrorism” is sanitised down to “the conflict”, inferring the mutual responsibility of the terroriser and the terrorised. The IRA escapes even a single mention. The only time “terrorist” is mentioned is in the same breath as “freedom fighter” (p22). There is no acceptance that terrorism was wrong and never justified.

2. There is no righting of the great wrong contained in the present obscene definition of “victim”, which equates the victim with the victim-maker. (Why was such essential change not made a prerequisite requirement by every unionist and victim-supportive participant? Instead concessions were made with nothing in return on this vital issue.)

3. The proposals have nothing to offer on restoring the Union flag to its rightful place on Belfast City Hall, nor is there any advance on flying the flag at Stormont.

4. The paper is premised on lauding the Belfast Agreement and its perpetual process of concessions, but without even an aspiration to bring basic democratic rights of an Opposition and the capacity to vote a party out of office. Instead, the present contrived and failing arrangements are ring fenced from even the hint of change.

5. Six new expensive quangos are proposed. The main source of appointment is OFMDFM. Given the trade off basis on which it operates, this means McGuinness will have his quota of placemen ruling the vital issues of parading and the past! Some may see this as progress, TUV certainly does not.

6. Whereas patronage is guaranteed for executive parties in the composition of the numerous anticipated quangos, there is no place for anyone outside the executive five. Ourselves Alone rules supreme.

7. Overall it is hard to see anything in the proposals for unionists. Little wonder Sinn Fein is its greatest supporter, for it represents an opportunity to pocket a bit more and move on to the next stage of the concession process.


8. Though the titles have changed the essence of the parading proposals are centred on a Parades Commission mark 2, with the addition of even more bureaucratic hurdles.

9. Every public representative of the 5 executive parties would now be committed to support every decision of the present Parades Commission, a commission which some claim they repudiate. (P4/5)

10. Instead of ECHR Art 11 rights of freedom of assembly being paramount, under the agreement they would be tempered by deference to other claimed rights eg rights pertaining to commerce and what are called “societal interests” (things not expressly recognised in ECHR and thus of lesser status). (P4/5)

11. The stringent obligations on parade organisers include taking vicarious responsibility for full compliance by all participants, including bands, with imposed conditions and the ‘code of conduct’, which, it would, appear could give rise to both criminal and civil liability. (P7/8)

12. Anyone from anywhere can lodge an objection to any parade anywhere and in consequence the parade organisers must engage with them in “sustained and meaningful dialogue” (P9). Failure to agree will result in referral to the Adjudicating Authority. Also, failure to dialogue will be a criterion informing adjudication (P12). By making objection so easy and non specific, the situation is ripe for malevolent and organised objection to every parade anywhere. Given Sinn Fein’s past orchestration of objection, it now has a charter for unfettered objection as a vehicle to blight the entire parading tradition and force every parade into the protracted and convoluted dialogue and adjudication process.

13. Traditional routes and the use of arterial routes does not raise any presumption in adjudication, but, rather, rank no greater than interests such as potential disruption to community life or commerce (P12).

14. It is hard to escape the conclusion that a prime motivation in encasing parading in such a straight jacket of oppressive regulation is to encourage a diminution in the practice. Putting organisers through such needless hoops is an effort to discourage them from even bothering.

Flags and emblems:

15. The proposals talk of “a special and protected place” for Irishness (P16). Relying on the parity afforded by the perverse Belfast Agreement to Britishness and Irishness in this part of the UK, Haass (P15) proposed a role “for the sovereign flag of Ireland in conjunction with the Union Flag in this jurisdiction”. Such is the outworking of the pernicious Belfast Agreement, designed, of course, to ultimately make the Tricolour the flag of all Ireland. Just how much the Belfast Agreement is a process, not a settlement, is very evident from the opening paragraphs of the Haass proposals.

16. The proposal (P17) for a Commission to address not just flags, but cultural emblems, the Irish language and identity, is but another means to condition the public for meeting the republican agenda for change on all these issues and deliver another result when the concession meter next needs fed. Even public holidays are to be reviewed; stand by for a campaign to obliterate 12th July as a public holiday. And, of course, the cleansing of our councils of British symbols is in there too. (p17)

The Past:

17. Even the law abiding majority are slighted by Haass with this slur and terror-excusing comment: “The vast majority assiduously eschewed violence, yet some may have contributed to the environment within which it flourished.” (P23) 18. Then, the criminal justice system, which saw several judges and hundreds of RUC officers murdered by the IRA, is slurred by Haass when he refers (p23) to convictions “by justice mechanisms which did not elicit full faith from all of society” (i.e. the terrorists and their acolytes who made the justice system a particular target for vilification).

19. Through the Historical Investigative Unit (HIU) a parallel police force is to be created, with equal investigative powers as the PSNI. Thus, arrests, searches, forensics etc will all be within their powers. How and when such will be recruited is scarcely covered, except it seems ex police officers will be barred. There appears to be little regard to the duplicate costs, but, clearly, money presently available for hospitals, schools etc will be diverted. Actions by “state actors”, such as the RUC and UDR, will be more readily investigated than the criminality of the terrorists. State files and records will be available and compellable; terrorist secrets will remain hidden. So, the prospect is of the RUC and UDR being hung out to dry while the IRA continues to escape.

20. The alternative Independent Commission for Information Retrieval (ICIR) is a pitiful substitute for the justice that innocent victims crave. Untested, even anonymous, self-serving terrorist versions of the “truth” provide more opportunity for Provo rewrite of history than satisfaction for innocent victims. Smithwick is a recent reminder that even what the Provos tell can’t be believed. And, then, as a bonus the terrorist gets immunity, both criminal and civil, on the information provided and can preserve his anonymity (p34). Little wonder, again, Sinn Fein are so keen!

21. The proposal that ICIR will also investigate “themes” is key to the republican agenda to rewrite history. Already we’ve had a diet of “collusion” allegations for years, now, as a theme it will be elevated and given credence by ICIR pursuit of it. (P33) Again, state records will be interrogated, but if border genocide was investigated as a theme there will be no Provo archives opened up. A wholly lopsided approach and outcome will result.

22. Haass provides nothing for post April 1998 victims, like Omagh victims or the families of IRA victims Robert McCartney and Paul Quinn. It wouldn’t do to remind anyone that the IRA went on killing!

[Emphasis added]

, , , ,

  • GEF

    Maybe Jim Allister could promote one of Mrs Thatcher’s old ideas. Then the whole of West Belfast and other predominately republican areas in NI could fly the Tri colour permanently .
    Question remains where would the Ardoyne and Crumlin Rd fit in here?


  • tacapall

    Jim Allister and the TUV are an embarrassment Alan why give this bigot and his rethoric any air of publicity. It seems from his analysis that there were no loyalist terrorists, there is only unionist victims, and equal rights are concessions. Even though there is widespread evidence of collusion and wrongdoing by state actors Allister and the TUV believe this should be overlooked because the criminals in the Provos wont tell the truth. We actually have a barrister who supposedly champions the rights of victims and the rule of law promoting turning a blind eye to terrorist actions by state actors because the actions of the Provos would in his mind be kept hidden.

  • Doug

    “Traditional routes and the use of arterial routes does not raise any presumption in adjudication, but, rather, rank no greater than interests such as potential disruption to community life…”

    Am I missing something? Genuine question – why should they?

  • Greenflag

    Northern Ireland 1920- 1974 was a normal democratic state and the troubles were all the fault of themmuns/Republicans /Catholics /Nationalists .

    Unfortunately the reality of Mr Allister’s world does not equate with the reality of 98% of the people on this island .

    What do the TUV get 2% or is it less ?

    For all his legalistic buffoonery Mr Allister has no practical constructive advice that would help Northern Ireland develop into a normal democracy. Allister himself admits it- when he cite the lack of a political opposition in the NI Assembly . .

    Mr Allister fails or doesn’t want to admit that one of the main reasons why /how the Northern Ireland State was established was that there would be no opposition -or that opposition such as it was could be safely ignored -as it was for 50 years -and we can look back and say .

    The GFA is the only straightjacket that can work in Northern Ireland until such time as that State disestablishes itself and the sooner that happens then the better for all the people of NI,

    In the meantime it’s designated days and 2% for the TUV and the demographic clock ticks away .

  • Charles_Gould

    I think this is a very worthwhile contribution to the debate by Jim, who can be expected to have taken a thorough approach to analysis of the document.

    I think he does raise some valid points, but at the same time, on an initial browse of his points, I think he does not have a single “killer” criticism of the document. In a sense, that suggests that the DUP may have been effective in the negotiations.

  • Charles_Gould

    Greenflag most of that you could have posted without studying the issues raised in the OP.

  • Greenflag

    @ Charles Gould ,

    He has a right to criticise who has a mind to help .The suggestion from GF is that Allister is not being helpful -rather the opposite . Look at point 16 ffs . Paranoia in a paragraph 🙁

    Mr Allister’s 22 pointer analysis does not include a single practical constructive suggestion for dealing with the issues that Haas & O’Sullivan were invited to NI by the local parties to hold their hands in helping to find agreement .

    .For Mr Allister it’s still 1920 or 1690- take your pick from either it doesn’t matter .

    You may revere the high priests of legalese or the piled high and deeps of the Academic World for their ‘larning ‘. And while I might sometimes agree that such folks can be worth more than their weight in helping to resolve the world’s greatest political and economic problems- Northern Ireland is NOT one of them –

    There is also the sanguine fact that some of the world’s highest rated PHD’s in economics admitted that they ‘got it wrong ‘ and of course not to far from here one of our ‘legally ‘qualified experts made off with some 54 million from his clients 🙁

    Titular adoration has it’s limitations . What they deliver is what counts . So far Allister’s practical delivery = 0

  • Hopping The Border

    Martin Luther Jim certainly isn’t.

  • Blue Hammer


    Dismissive ad hominem attacks on Jim Allister may satisfy you, but aren’t particularly edifying. An eminent barrister seeking and gaining election is much less of an embarrassment than a functional murder machine that hasn’t really gone away you know.

    1. The existence of loyalist terror gangs is not disputed by Jim Allister or the TUV. The simple fact is they don’t get elected.

    2. The lack of a recognised opposition in the Stormont white elephant is a fundamental flaw in a very flawed system. That Jim Allister has assumed that role and signally succeeded in holding the SF/DUP polit-bureau to account, and draws attention to that democratic deficit is held up by GF as a reason to belittle him. Mature.

    3. Rather than the GFA being the only way forward, a return to direct rule, removing mass murderers from “power” is a real and viable option. Haste the day. I wouldn’t hold your breath on the demographics fulfilling your fantasy GF.

    4. It’s not 1690, 1921, or even 1997. Post 1998, we live in an Orwellian state where some murderers are significantly more equal than others. We need a return to the law being applied without consideration of political expedience.

    5. GF – Ann’s Law ring any bells? A pretty practical bit of delivery if you ask me.

  • redstar2011

    Blue Hammer- in your point 3 you seem to have lost the plot a bit

    What do you say to the thousands of Nats ( definitely not myslf I hasten to add!) who wish to vote SF?

  • Blue Hammer

    I haven’t lost the plot at all. I would say “vote for whoever you like” in any election to the sovereign Parliament at Westminster like any other UK citizen has the right to do. At least there they won’t have a unchallenged “right” to form a mandatory coalition govt – democracy turned on its head.

    Devolution is a waste of time and money in Wales & Scotland, and doubly so in Northern Ireland, where it is also morally bankrupt.

  • Charles_Gould

    Blue Hammer

    I was wondering which of Jim’s points you think is the strongest? (I am glad Jim has put out an analysis and I think this thread is best used to discuss it).

  • redstar2011

    Sorry I see now what youre saying.

    Unfortunately the reality is some sort of local assembly is going to be in place thats just fact.

    And as you say people then have a right to vote for whoever they want.

    Unfortunately for Jim Allister very few choose TUV

  • Blue Hammer


    I don’t see any of the 22 points as particularly stronger than the rest. His argument is to be taken as a whole, and in my view skewers the whole getalongerist nonsense underpinning Haass. If pressed, point 4 resonates strongest with me – the GFA is the root of many current problems.


    More TUV voters than PUP. And everyone is just dying to hear their views.

  • tacapall

    “An eminent barrister seeking and gaining election is much less of an embarrassment than a functional murder machine that hasn’t really gone away you know”

    Obviously you know something the rest of us dont Blue Hammer. Perhaps you could produce evidence of this functional murder machine that hasn’t gone away and while your at it produce some evidence where Jim Allister acknowledges the existence of loyalist terror gangs as he seems quite willing to jump in and out of bed with them when it suits. Was Jim Allister not at a meeting on the Shankill a few months back that was attended by the UDA/UFF/UVF and where Billy Hutchinson proclaimed that he and Jim Allister spoke with one voice and maybe you’ve also forgotten that Allister was also a leading member of the DUP when that party formed the terrorist Ulster Resistance by the way have Ulster Resistance decommissioned any of their weapons.

    “Post 1998, we live in an Orwellian state where some murderers are significantly more equal than others”

    Totally agree with you but obviously I disagree with Allisters proposition that even though the evidence is there state actors who engaged in murder and terrorism be allowed to roam free just because there is no prospect of evidence emerging that would prosecute republicans.

  • Blue Hammer


    Point 22 above gives details of some IRA killings since 1998. This does not include the so-called “dissidents” who coincidentally use the same techniques, weaponry and it seems personnel to murder pice officers, soldiers, prison officers and civilians. The only apparent difference is that they have yet to target PUL civilians in the continuance if their campaign.

    A recent TUV press release condemns all paramilitary violence, including loyalists:

    Where the evidence supports prosecution I am happy to endorse the prosecution of HM forces personnel or others who have broken the law. I’d be fairly sure that this is the TUV position also.

    A truth commission which would require full disclosure from HMG, but accept lies like “I was never in the IRA” (TM G Adams) is never going to be acceptable.

  • tacapall

    Blue Hammer I could post you up lots of evidence of Sinn Fein condemning those you would call dissidents and their actions and a catholic pulling the trigger is no different than a protestant pulling the trigger but even though it has been loyalists who have committed the most murders since the GFA I have yet to hear Allister screaming for justice.

    Jim Allister can cry crocodile tears all he likes but it wont change the facts that he believes there are no nationalist victims and he has no problems sharing platforms with loyalist murderers who really have control of a functional murder machine and who the PSNI claim are the instigators of the recent civil disturbances over the last year.

  • Greenflag

    @ Blue Hammer ,

    Read point 16 again and tell me that it’s not pure paranoia dressed up as legalistic gumpf.

    As to your point 2 . Everybody understands that the GFA is flawed .How could it not be .It’s meant to deal with the inherent contradictions of a flawed from inception state..It’s a no brainer ..

    While Mr Allister can be commended for trying to provide some form of opposition to the four party mandatory coalition -he is after all a one man band with insignificant electoral support . Fact .

    As to your point 3 .

    The war is over but only if you want it to be . In your case and Allister’s it seems you’d rather it carry on for another few decades:( Direct Rule is not coming back or if it has to it will be preparatory to the disestablishment of the NI State as it is. The GFA remains the only game in town other than a UI. Neither Scotland nor Wales are going back on devolution and Northern Ireland can only go back to Direct Rule if it descends into another widespread sectarian conflict and that would put an end to the NI State as it exists .

    ‘ I wouldn’t hold your breath on the demographics fulfilling your fantasy GF.’

    Not fantasy -Just the numbers . Ian Livingstones numbers on his Ulster is doomed blog .

    In retro Ian more accurately might it have termed it NI is doomed as Ulster ( 9 counties) already has a nationalist /republican majority in 7 of the 9 counties and will have a majority in 8 of the 9 by 2020.


    Keep on favouring the disunion of Ireland BH . Theres a great political future therein —- elsewhere of course .

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Some interesting points from Allister, though I disagree with his general anti-GFA thrust. The GFA was essential to securing the end of the last IRA campaign. The moral compromises have been hard to stomach but they’ve stopped killing us for a bit and while it would be wrong to bend over in gratitude, it is worth a bit of imperfect politics.

    I agree with Allister that we need to move the process to a point where we can call a spade a spade – the pussy-footing around the word ‘terrorist’ in the Haass document is unedifying. We’re a bit stuck on that though because nationalists keep voting SF; until they disempower the former terrorists, the latter will continue to scupper the truth and justice process.

    On themes, at point 21, he’s right – but should be more constructive I think in seeking to get more themes explored – particularly those around the “logic” of Republican targeting. (There wasn’t any, but they’re not getting off that easy).

  • David Crookes

    The wordy seven-times-diluted draft agreement is worse than trivial, and so is the TUV critique of it.

    Unionist voters are being encouraged by some of their politicians to believe that a return to the Brookeborough days is virtuous, desirable, and possible. In fact, there is as much chance of bringing back the Penal Laws.

    Old-style unionist politicians preach a fantastical doctrine: that the RoI is longing to take over NI. Part of the dream-furniture is a global conspiracy against NI (‘the London-Dublin-Washington nexus’). This sort of tripe goes down very well with patriarchal growlers who haven’t a clue what a nexus actually is.

    Even the hostility of old-style unionism to Europe is based on fantasy. When a referendum gave British citizens the chance of leaving the EEC, the UK voted by a majority to stay in Europe, and so as a separate unit did NI.

    Stop pretending, yesterday’s little boys. You don’t believe in Santa any more. Why do you still believe in getting your own way no matter what? Grow up and stop growling. There is nothing high-principled about messing on your own doorstep. Real men don’t feed on the corpses of the past. Real men want their children to have jobs.

    Don’t even toy with the idea of repartition. Do you want to know what a repartitioned mini-NI would look like? Then go and look at the piece of land in front of the Dundonald Icebowl (while listening to a CD of a paramilitary unison flute band). That’s the sort of embarrassingly boorish and sub-plebeian culture we’ll get if repartitioners get their way

    No, thanks. You have little more to offer us than nasty, self-obsessed, illiterate hatred and pride. You seem even to hate the future, because you’re doing your best to ruin it for everyone.

  • Charles_Gould

    All: Rather than giving pre-rehearsed “position statements” posters should comment on the original article that Alan has put up.

    MU is to be credited for having done this.

    MU: I was very interested to read Jim’s comments because he is such a key unionist opposition thinker at the moment. It struck me that Jim was not yet able to land any “killer blows” on the contents of Haass.

    Rather than focusing on the key weak points, he digressed on to wider (and well rehearsed) commentary on the GFA.

    While I too worry about the cost implications of the major proliferation of bodies and commissions, the issues he raised seemed relatively minor. I read this as being a sign that the Haass proposals are not going to be hugely problematic for the DUP.

  • qwerty12345

    David Crookes – nail on head.

  • David Crookes

    Bless you, qwerty. If the new moderator will allow me to say so. anyone who leads people to desire an outcome that he knows to be unattainable is behaving wickedly — especially if he tells them that their desire is virtuous.

  • sherdy

    From the Haass talks were first mooted Wee Jimbo has spent his time criticising the very idea of them, and declaring that they would come to nothing.

    Quite a few people agreed that there would be no positive outcome, but if he believed in his own argument, why has he taken so much time and effort declaring 22 times that the corpse was actually dead.
    Methinks he doth protest too much.

  • David Crookes

    Right, sherdy, unless his plan is to attract as much attention as possible TO HIMSELF. That would be a new thing…..

    A wee bit of humility from someone who attracted so few votes in the last assembly election would be a good idea. And a bit of geniality would help as well. You can play the Athanasius-contra-mundum card for only so long.

    We had a referendum on the GFA. Most people voted in favour of the GFA. Get over it.

  • Framer

    The obsessional class hatred against working class Protestants is dispiriting and luckily not yet illegal.
    It is also authoritarian given the constant refrain about restricting their rights and freedoms while at the same time lauding the human rights industry.
    Because the industry is predominantly nationalist – did anyone show concern at the effective internment of Jamie Bryson? – its entirely one-sided nature is kept a secret.

  • Greenflag

    Well said David Crookes both at 3 January 2014 at 5:05 pm

    ‘We had a referendum on the GFA. Most people voted in favour of the GFA. Get over it.’

    Indeed .

    @ Sherdy ,

    Methinks he doth protest too much.

    Flogging dead horses seems to be Mr Allister’s specialty .Someone needs to tell him and others on the political unionist side -the war is over -unless they don’t want it to be -in which case there are enough nutters on both sides to start it up again , Once started history tells us they don’t stop easily . Theres no perfect justice . There never has been .A brief resume of Irish & British history never mind others should convince even the most myopic that we muddle and fudge our way through to peace -not by constantly digging up the past which in the case of NI just digs up the same old -same old .

  • sherdy

    David, – I’m sure you’re right. He is a believer in the school of thought: say what you like about me, as long as you spell my name right.

  • Charles_Gould


    “. Every public representative of the 5 executive parties would now be committed to support every decision of the present Parades Commission, a commission which some claim they repudiate. (P4/5)”

    I wonder if this is really true? I can’t see specifically where this comes from. Alan did you trace this comment to a specific paragraph?

  • David Crookes

    Framer, class hatred doesn’t come into it. Not so long ago, thousands of civilized citizens of every class had their civic lives repeatedly disrupted, to a greater or lesser but in any case INTOLERABLE extent, by working-class Protestants. None of us wants to restrict the legitimate rights and freedoms of other persons. What we do expect is that other persons will not disrupt our civic lives to an intolerable extent. Written by a Protestant who hates no person of any class.

    Sherdy and Greenflag, thanks. Yes, indeed. Why does a thoroughly intelligent man bother to cut out paper tigers with pinking shears, and then hold them up to scare people? Here is a real bogey man for you. Many of our children are facing unemployment.

    There would be less energy available for lawless violence if everyone was able to get condignly tired by doing a job of work.

  • Sp12

    “The obsessional class hatred against working class Protestants is dispiriting and luckily not yet illegal.
    It is also authoritarian given the constant refrain about restricting their rights and freedoms while at the same time lauding the human rights industry.”

    see yousenz, yousenz are all snabz

    What rights?
    What freedoms?
    List them.

  • Zig70

    Haass is an attack on the working class of all types. Opiates for the tribes. In the same week we get news of high youth unemployment and suicide, or leaders dance around this nonsense and propose to increase the money wasted. Jim’s addition should be thrown on the same pyre and we should all be shouting ‘what are you doing about housing, poverty, job creation. Has Jim ever put this much effort into ideas to help the area in NI with the highest unemployment? Has any of them this year?

  • halfsensible

    I agree with Jim on points 10-14 and 19-21. The proposals on parades would disproportionately affect unionists and lead to more contention. The proposals on the past would again lead to disproportionate detailed investigation of loyalist/security force killings whilst providing the IRA with the opportunity to submit their own narratives without the same level of investigation or risk of prosecution. This of course will always be the case as there are no IRA documents for investigators to comb through. There’s much loss and no real gain for unionists/British in this document

  • Zig70

    Analyze this. Jim brings out the worst in me. I can’t stand him, only beaten by wee Jeff. Everyone lauds his intelligence but the fact that he mainly uses it to cloak his attacks on nationalists ranks with me. I don’t like people who aren’t straight. Like Willie Frazer, he gives the media a news story otherwise his exposure would reflect the TUVs popularity. The platitudes the SDLP gave to tribal attacks from the UUP and loyalism contributed to the vote deflation post GFA. They seem to be slow learners in the political game.

  • Charles – near the top of page 5

    In order to build public confidence regarding our individual and collective commitment to this agreement, and recognising that it will take time for the new structures set out below to be established in legislation, the commitments we expressed above will also apply to the existing and any other interim arrangements for the regulation of parades, select commemorations, and protests. Parades, commemorations, and protests must be conducted in full adherence to the rule of law.

  • IrelandNorth

    Progress will not be possible if Assembly participants allow self rghteous to refract their judgement. N Ireland/Ulster (NI/U) is hardly a paradigm democracy. So why the surprise at no institutionalised opposition in the N Ireland Assembly? With the current state of constitutional flux of currently constituted UK regions gravitating from devolution towards autonomy if not independence, parliamentary perfectionism is surely premature extrapolation. And being a member of the largest cultural minority in the currently constituted N Ireland hardly confers majoritarian status.

  • Charles_Gould

    Alan: thank you. I don’t see how individuals in a party can be forced to agree with rulings on parades, it seems against free speech.

    General: It seems that in the media today Jim’s 22nd criticism has been picked up on:

    “22. Haass provides nothing for post April 1998 victims, like Omagh victims or the families of IRA victims Robert McCartney and Paul Quinn. It wouldn’t do to remind anyone that the IRA went on killing!”

  • Charles_Gould

    “We also accept that there is a particular responsibility for elected representatives to uphold decisions made by any body that has the lawful authority to make determinations in relation to parades, select commemorations, and related protests. We therefore commit to acquiescing to and upholding any such determinations”

    Alan I don’t interpret this to mean to dup would have to agree with the determinations, “uphold” can just mean accept that they have to be complied with.

  • thethoughtfulone

    The constant republican demonisation of Jim Alister is totally understandable, as are the efforts made to belittle every utterance from his mouth. He is after all their worst nightmare, a prod with a brain.

    Then add in the fact that he’s equally loathed, albeit for a completely different reason, by the most popular protestant party and it’s plain that to see he’s never going to get it easy.

    Don’t expect any of this to be taken much differently to anything else from him.

  • williewombat

    This thread really reads like a fenian hate charter with your knew best mate crooks in tow david that “once I used to be like you” who tries to dress up his diatribe of anti Unionist bile. Haass has been dead from the kick off when all the gains are one sided and blind eyes are turned to some of the most vilest creatures on earth ie Irish Republicans and their antics theres little to be gained from giving any further credence to this failed process. Ulster Unionists seem to have heard the real voice of Unionists last night not the nonsense spewed out by Mike Nesbitt during the final days of the talks and promoted by the poundchasers and a deluded media pack hoping to extend their free lunch gravy train. There you are hate mongers get tore into that.

  • stewrogers

    “We had a referendum on the GFA. Most people voted in favour of the GFA. Get over it.” And I bet many of those people regret their decision.

    Its time for Unionism to wake up and realise that SF don’t need to get everything their own way in these talking shops. They are playing the long game and know that if they are patient, the concessions will come their way regardless.

  • SK

    “fenian hate charter”

    Without a hint of irony.

  • David Crookes

    I hear you, Willie, and what you say is woeful. First, if you’re going to attack your opponents by name you should try to get their names right. Secondly, you should refrain from attacking me for dressing up my BILE when you are happy to call some of your fellow-humans “the most VILEst creatures on earth”.

    Bile doesn’t come into it. I happen to remember a protracted orgy of lawlessness from not far back which climaxed in an attempt to burn a policewoman alive. That orgy was the work of my co-religionists, and it cannot be excused by those who say, “Aw-but-the-people-are-terrible-angry”. If people are justifiably angry, they should express their anger in lawful fashion. When they insist on expressing their anger in murderous violence, they become fascists.

    So there you are. No “hate-mongering” about it. I don’t hate any human beings, but I hate lawlessness. A real hate-monger is someone who mocks his political opponents for making friends with other persons. When you have to mock friendship, you’re in a seriously bad way. Here is a doctrine which no sane person will espouse. “You’re one of us, so you’re not allowed to be friends with one of them.”

    Those murderous terrorists whom the media call republican dissidents constitute a far greater threat to the security of NI than most people realize. I want the police and the army to deal with those terrorists robustly. I don’t want the police and the army to be impeded by having to fight a fatuous phoney war on a second front. That’s not being bilious. It’s being cerebral.

    Thanks for your posting, and sorry to be late in reply.

  • sherdy

    David, – Sorry to intrude on your discussion with Willie, but I thought you were doing okay until you got to ‘a fatuous phoney war on a second front’.
    If anyone is engaged in activities which cause distress or damage and injury to people and property, then there is nothing phoney about it and it should be referred to as war or terrorism.

  • David Crookes

    Sorry, sherdy, and thanks for clarifying what I really mean to say. The phoney war is actually being whipped up and fought by some people on my side of the fence. Anyone who commits an unlawful action by way of fighting that fatuous war is a criminal, and yes, anyone who makes violent war against the police and his fellow-citizens in the name of that war is a terrorist.

    But the flags-and-parades war is phoney in essence. A council decides not to fly a certain flag on its building. No war should be fought in the name of that triviality. A legally constituted body (the PC) asks a group of marchers not to march down a certain street. No war should be fought in the name of that triviality.