…this long rumoured Assembly collapse…

Over in New York, Gerry Adams has just issued a statement on the current impasse over welfare cuts in the Assembly (as reported by Liam Clarke). According to the report, Sinn Féin will let the Assembly fall and trigger an election rather than implement the cuts and Gerry Adams said:

“It isn’t that we want an election but if some of the parties in the North are going to follow this agenda, then let them bring it on to the floor of the Assembly and give the people their say…The party’s position is that we should unite as an Executive at telling the British government that we are not going to impose these cuts.”

The report goes on to say that he didn’t see why:

“…the Executive should fall out on the budget issue given that the Executive represents the people of Northern Ireland and that they voted on a programme of government that contained no reference to welfare cuts.

They don’t take any account at all of the fact that we are a community which is coming out of conflict and it is mostly the poor working-class areas that have suffered the most.”

Ironically, his words were being echoed by, of all people, UKIP’s Nigel Farage, in a fairly contradictory statement saying:

“I have a lot more sympathy for the situation in Northern Ireland. You know, we’re just a few years after a horrendous political and social situation, and I think the British government and parliament will fully accept its responsibilities here,”

While saying that he was also demanding that MPs elected here, in Scotland and Wales be restricted in what they can vote or speak on (clearly intended for the English electorate that is UKIP’s real hope of being returned to the next Westminster parliament in any significant number). Farage also is claiming that not giving greater powers to England could lead to England breaking away from the union. So, not exactly an argument that will elicit any change in Sinn Féin’s position.

The threatened/imminent/likely collapse of the Assembly has been rumoured for so long that it is hard to take seriously at this stage. With a Westminster election coming anyway next May (at the latest), an Assembly election isn’t formally due to May of 2016. And according to the latest DUP tweet supporting Peter Robinson, he intends to see out the next two elections.

This may be a bit more revealing than intended – do the DUP expect an Assembly and Westminster election on the same day?

With a very visible power struggle now taking place within the DUP, it seems very unlikely that they will trigger an election. Then again, that might be one reason for Sinn Féin to precipitate an election, although it might equally persuade the DUP to close ranks in the short term. With pressure mounting over the next few weeks to implement the cuts to welfare, though, Sinn Féin may finally turn the valve and release some of that pressure by triggering an election. So maybe Robinson will get to fight one of his two elections sooner rather than later.

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  • I’m Trending on Twitter

    Both SF and DUP, the two main parties, are simply playing party politics, at a time when the people of NI need them to work together, to compromise, to govern the place as best they can with the reduced resources and budgets available dealing with the hand they have been dealt as best possible. Seeing what has been happening recently between the DUP and SF, all of it taken together should amount to a replacement of the DUP and SF as governing partners if an election were called.

    The DUP are fooling no one about Peter Robinson being able to lead, he lost his MP seat to a non-unionist party, the Alliance party, the electorate know what to do to get rid of the DUP as the replacement of Robinson Politics with Alliance ones has shown, so desperate were the people of the east to get rid of him they voted for Alliance. The unionist electorate once opted to replace the UUP with the DUP, they know how to reverse that outcome, they know how to get the DUP out and the UUP back in, along with others with a bit more style and governing ability.

  • barnshee

    And when the sectarian headcount produces the same buffoons in Stormont— apart from incurring the expense of an election –what will be achieved?

  • Morpheus

    That God someone else asked that, I thought I was missing something. 🙂

  • Zeno1

    “According to the report, Sinn Féin will let the Assembly fall and trigger an election rather than implement the cuts and Gerry Adams said:”

    So logically we may have direct rule and those nasty Brits will do all the little jobs your boys don’t have the nuts for. Welfare cuts , Water Charges Rates Increased……… and then your lot can come back in and claim it wasn’t your fault. Good one, and lots of your supporters will fall for it.

  • Michael Henry

    Gerry Adams says the Assembly should all stand together and refuse the Welfare cuts as the best option – but if that does not happen then the Assembly should collapse and let the people decide who should represent them in the future- ( the people- not just two or three ones on a site )-Un- elected here English 2nd class MPs should have to right bringing in Welfare cuts above our democratic heads- especially ones who will vote to drop bombs in Iraq again- We are in a Peace process- we don’t need un Elected war mongers over here-

  • Mister_Joe

    It’s time there was an election. Out of curiosity, does any body carry out scientific based polls in N.I. as to where the differing parties stand in public preference. It would be nice to see a change, any change, from the totally dysfunctional lot up on the hill drawing their unjustified salaries for themselves and, in many cases, their families and mateys too.

  • Comrade Stalin

    …the Executive should fall out on the budget issue given that the Executive represents the people of Northern Ireland and that they voted on a programme of government that contained no reference to welfare cuts.

    The programme for government also contained no mention of parties abdicating their responsibilities and allowing Westminster to take over the government, which is what Gerry is proposing. This man shows no understanding of the realities of running a government and a collapse in the executive won’t play well in terms of persuading the international community that an Irish government coalition comprising Sinn Féin in the Dáil will provide political stability.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Gerry Adams says the Assembly should all stand together

    Yeah and I should have a Ferrari in my driveway. We can all talk about “should” all day but we need to accept what “is” and “isn’t”. There is no agreement on this matter.

    No government can remain in power if it refuses to spend within its means and Sinn Féin’s choice is between implementing the deal which it negotiated (and which Gerry apparently vetoed) or basically blocking powersharing.

  • Michael Henry

    ” Sinn Fein’s choice is between implementing the deal which it negotiated “- a big difference between what political party’s discuss in negotiations and what is agreed-it’s Politics-

    ” or basically blocking powersharing “-

    You still support Alliance Comrade- are you afraid of them not doing better in new Elections for some reason-keep it up and maybe the Tory’s will get you a Ferrari- you sure don’t care about the family’s that the Welfare cuts will effect the most- you are more worried about sharing power among the few than power sharing for the many-

  • Zeno1

    “especially ones who will vote to drop bombs in Iraq again-”

    That’s how democracy is supposed to work. Beside no one is against bombing ISIS ………..are they?

  • Zeno1

    Lucid Talk are the best local Polling Company.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Michael,

    I will support anyone with a plan to maintain the existing welfare system if they will explain to me where they intend to find the money to do it. Having accused me of being anti-welfare, perhaps you could volunteer a proposal ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Incidentally Michael, I work in IT. It’s very likely that due to the need to spend £1bn (money which could otherwise be spent on improving public services) on a new computer to run our independent welfare system, Sinn Féin’s proposals will in fact result in a lot of IT workers – who are already well paid – making a ton of money.

    I think this is wrong and I’d much rather spend the money on better public services. But Sinn Fein think otherwise. So I might get my Ferrari after all.

  • Michael Henry

    ” Beside no one is against bombing ISIS…….are they? “-

    The American Air Force killed 5 Civilians this week whilst trying to bomb ISIS-so yes- I am opposed to all those killers today-
    How many Civilians are the British Air Force going to kill next week with bombs being paid for by Welfare cuts-
    The Brit minister of defence said that the Welfare cuts will help to pay for their fight against terrorism- the RAF will soon be the Terrorists to Civilians again-

  • Croiteir

    the simple fact is that the place is not self governable if you have roughly half the population ideologically against its very existence. This is an English problem, close Stormont and get them to run it. If they cant do so it is time they walked away and let someone else do the job.

  • Zeno1

    The IRA bombed innocent civilians and even used Human proxy bombs. They are now in government albeit after a bit of re-branding. Sinn Fein obviously never condemn the IRA, so how can a SF supporter condemn the British Government for attacking terrorists who behead innocent people and are a threat to national security?

  • The Lobsters

    Roughly half? Probably more like a third.

  • Croiteir

    No – roughly half is more accurate

  • Croiteir

    The British and the unionists also murdered innocent civilians – is a pattern developing here?

  • Croiteir

    Hardly – a nationalist will think before answering it due to its wording, I would say no due to this, yet I want to provoke change by having a referendum

  • Michael Henry

    You are talking over 20 years ago Zeno 1-The IRA has been at peace for several years now and believe politics is the only future-but yet again I am totally opposed to the millionaire Tory Government sending the RAF out to kill Civilians not ISIS whilst the poor of Britain pay for the air strikes through the Welfare cuts -Civilians-the Tory’s like ISIS see a future in violence-

    Will you Zeno 1 condemn British forces when they kill Civilians who are alive today-

  • Michael Henry

    ” half the population ideologically against it’s very existence “-

    Less than half the English population don’t vote so they are also ideologically against Westminster’s Very existence -that is the English problem-there answer- bomb other countries and make the poor pay for the bombing- and you want more of those small unelectable mind sets over here-a disgraceful Statement-

  • Jag

    The Shinners would prefer Stormont elections that didn’t conflict with the 2016 (scheduled) general election in the Republic. With the Republic’s economy recovering, it’s increasingly looking as if the FG/Labour coalition will go the distance to March 2016.

    The Shinners won’t want to fight two very different campaigns at the same time, so getting a Stormont election out of the way now would be to their advantage, in many ways.

    And, separately, given the current rankings of the parties, are we all ready for the Right Honorable Martin McGuinness, First Minister of Northern Ireland?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Actually it isn’t.

    The nationalist vote in the 2014 European elections was 38.5%. That’s a lot closer to 33% (one third) than it is to 50% (one half).

  • Morpheus

    Abdicating their responsibilities? No understanding of the realities of running a government? The primary responsibility of our MLAs is to represent the interests of the people who elected them, wouldn’t you agree? Would you prefer it if they simply ignored the impact on those who elected them, rolled over and got a pat on the head because they helped the Tories fulfil a manifesto pledge which they think will get them reelected?

    There was a debate in Stormont a few days ago when they discussed the potential impact on the people of NI and the Chamber was shamefully void of elected representatives. Those who did bother to turn up had some interesting things to say:

    “…Universal credit was expected to be rolled out by the end of 2017. As of last month, 11,070 households were receiving universal credit. The policy in GB is clearly failing, and I see nothing to reinforce the view that it will do anything other than fail here. DWP is 986,740 short of the original target of moving one million people to universal credit by April. In fact, Iain Duncan Smith also missed his own revised and much downgraded target of 184,000. Given that there are currently 11,000 claimants, welfare reform is not working well there either. There are massive flaws, not least the fact that the male to female ratio of claimants is 7:3, with the vast majority of claims being from unemployed people under 25 — the easiest demographic to separate. Considering that universal credit is estimated to cost the taxpayer £12·8 billion, if progress is not made soon, the cost of this will be over £1·1 million for every person currently claiming it. The demographic that will be the most seriously affected is not the scroungers, even though they do not really exist, or the unemployed; it is low-paid working families with children. On the day that I sat on this seat and listened to a debate about how this was about making work pay, there were 67,253 people in receipt of unemployment benefit and 4,700 available jobs. It does not take you to be a mathematician to work out the odds on that.” M. Copeland: UUP

    “New figures now show that 329,000 of the 529,000 applicants waiting for personal independent payment claims are still waiting to be assessed and that waiting time has increased substantially….Nearly 800,000 people live in poverty in the North. I am sure that every Member can agree that that is a disturbing and totally unacceptable statistic. The cuts would only exacerbate the situation and hit households that are already struggling. Of the 400 government districts, three of Northern Ireland’s 26 are in the top four positions, and 11 are in the top 50. That is largely due to the prevalence of mental ill health and social deprivation that the conflict left in our society. In my constituency, there is an estimated loss of £670 per working-age adult in Craigavon. In Banbridge, it is £560. In total, as the excellent report by NICVA and others suggests, £750 million would be lost to the Northern Ireland economy. There is no aspect of life that the cuts would not touch: housing, health, income or childcare. We have a higher proportion of disability living allowance (DLA) recipients than England, Scotland and Wales, and they will be adversely affected by the personal independent payment. The infamous bedroom tax will adversely affect 33,000 people. Indeed, the social housing Minister said that 32,000 social housing tenants would potentially be affected by underoccupation restrictions.”D. Kelly, SDLP

    “I am horrified that sickness and disability claimants will be hit hardest under these proposed cuts. The 66,000 individuals adversely affected by the incapacity benefit reforms can expect to lose an average of almost £3,500 per year. The 67,000 individuals changing from DLA to personal independence payments (PIP) will lose out on an average of £2,100 per year.” M. Boyle, SF

    Does that sound like a system that should have been in place here a year ago? For a country that protests at the drop of a hat and for a country that is going to be hit hardest by these cuts I think it shameful that some think that the people of NI are not worth a fight.

  • Reader

    “…current rankings of the parties…”
    Amazing – it appears a republican has finally found a poll that he likes. Can you supply more detail, please?

  • Jag

    “Republican”? “He”? He-he!

    And not just one poll, but two polls. There were elections at the end of May 2014 for local council and European parliament seats. You might recall them.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Ireland_(European_Parliament_constituency)
    SF 25.5%, DUP 20.9%

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Ireland_local_elections,_2014
    SF gets 24.1% of vote compared with 23.1% for DUP

    Now, which is the biggest political party in Northern Ireland? Plainly, it’s SF.

  • Reader

    In the local elections, the DUP still got more seats than SF (because of transfers – that’s a nut that SF still has to crack. Maybe nationalism needs a few micro parties to shore up turnout?)
    The Euro elections are an even worse example – in the previous EU election the DUP got an even smaller share of the vote but that didn’t stop them getting top spot in the Assembly two years later.
    Where’s the trend that’s going SF’s way, to make Marty first minister next time around?

  • Morpheus

    The wording of 1 particular question regarding the Ardoyne impasse in the upcoming BT poll is shamefully loaded:

    1. the parade should be allowed to return past the Ardoyne shops
    2. the parade should not be allowed to return past the shops
    3. the Ardoyne parades issue should be the subject of a separate independent inquiry with the power to investigate and report back on solutions to the dispute
    4. we should leave the decision in the hands of the Parades Commission next year

    They might as well have put smiley and frowny faces at the end

  • Morpheus

    I think what he trying to get at is that transfers don’t count when it comes to the First Minister’s position after St Andrews. It’s window dressing anyway, the FM and DFM are the same thing

  • Reader

    But the Assembly elections are carried out using PR. Last time (2011), the DUP got 35% of the seats with 29% of first preference votes. Whereas SF got 27% of the seats with 26% of the first preferences.
    So transfers *do* matter. And in fact they matter even *more*, not less, after St Andrews, because being the largest party overall is the decider now.
    I wish the DUP hadn’t been able to put the fix into the StAA, but that’s the way it is.

  • Jag

    In the next Stormont elections, I’d expect TUV will take 4 additional seats, UKIP will take 2, PUP will take 2 and SF will take 4 ( a couple from growth in nationalist vote, a couple from stagnant SDLP). Expect SF at 33 and DUP at 30,

    SF is the largest party in Northern Ireland today by reference to 1st preference votes, which is how you’d expect a biggest party to be determined in a democracy. It has overtaken DUP at local council level.

    Oh, and this all ignores the potential for another binary fission of a unionist party with Poots, Paisley and around a score of others forming a reformed (ironically more intransigent) DUP.

    Stormont elections by end of 2014 would free the Shinners for Westminster elections in May 2015 (despite the abstentionism, it pays the party machine wages and expenses and gives them standing) and would give them an undistracted campaign for the 2016 Republic election. On the other hand, collapsing the Assembly now, would transform Petey into Marty’s bitch as second minister (as Morpheus says above, they’re co-equal but the perception is of a first amongst equals and their deputy), and would mean a few DUPers lost their seats (and nice salary, expenses and prestige).

    What have SF to lose? And all in the noble pursuit of resisting “Tory millionaire” social welfare cuts. Can’t see a downside for SF in this, but if I were the DUP, I’d be quaking in my high shine loafers.

  • Zeno1

    I don’t support Brits and Unionists.

  • Sir Rantsalot

    In the last census 21% of the NI population had an ROI passport. So less than a quarter of people interested in Irish citizenship. No reason for them to want to be opposed to being in NI though. But please continue with talking up ‘the cause’ with obvious sectarian based whoppers 🙂

  • Sir Rantsalot

    Why do politicians in NI always go on about collapsing things? Its daft. Do your job, make your decisions. If you don’t do your job then you are the one who takes responsibility for your own inaction.

  • barnshee

    SF are the supporter in the crowd who knows better than the players, referee and the managers -previously keen to offer advice and appropriate blame.
    They are now on the pitch -and they don`t like it . Decisions -no more money ? WHAT–water rates? increase General rate?– not me mate –I know– lets blame the Brits/Prods– its worked before

  • barnshee

    I presume the questions have equal ranking ?

  • barnshee

    The welfare state created this problem– it is now insoluble
    Too many people and too few jobs
    Living off the “surplus” created by taxpayers elsewhere (who is becoming less tolerant ) is a fact of life for NI
    What is the alternative?

  • Reader

    It has overtaken DUP at local council level
    And you’re predicting it will overtake SF in both seats and first preference votes in the Assembly in the next election? That’s in addition to your other daringly specific predictions.
    Who knows? As for your attachment to the unique significance of first preference votes, I don’t agree – I see no problem with STV in multi member constituencies; and I think transfers are a *good* thing as transfers tend to make parties look outside their core vote. I’ve always been against a party list system, firstly as it gives far too much power to the party machine, and secondly as I like the opportunity to distinguish between different categories of numpties (even within the same party) as I work my way down the ballot paper.

  • Reader

    Oops – my first sentence should read “..predicting it will overtake DUP…”

  • Morpheus

    If benefit fraud is the issue then invest in the system to make it more robust so only those who genuinely need help get help.

    If the intention is to get back people back to work then give them jobs to go back to. The odd announcement of 50 jobs here and 100 jobs there (especially when Invest NI are putting in an injection of funds) doesn’t touch the sides.

    If we want to take 3 bedroom houses from those with a spare room and give it to those in need then invest in more smaller houses so they have somewhere to go.

    If getting expenditure reduced then do it is a way that does decimate and demoralize the population.

    But above all, close the loopholes which allows big businesses not to pay their fair share – tax avoidance is estimated to cost the UK close on £70b per year. Instead of squeezing the average man for the pennies he has in his pocket squeeze big business for the billions they are not paying tax on every day

  • Zeno1

    Are we not allowed to talk about over 20 years ago now? That’s gonna be awkward for Republicans. The point is you support Sinn Fien who supported and continue to glorify IRA murders. I don’t support anyone and fully condemn the murder of innocent people.

  • Morpheus

    Oh and another thing – stop spending billions upon billions of taxpayer money on fecking wars

  • Comrade Stalin

    Morpheus,

    Back up a second.

    Welfare reform is happening. Either the Executive will vote it through, or the assembly will collapse due to Sinn Féin walking out and the British Government will implement it. They will also implement a number of other things, including rates increases and water charges.

    If you think it will happen any other way, please explain how.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Nothing to do with the Northern Ireland budget. The UK maintains a strategic reserve for conflicts and I imagine it will meet most of the additional costs of this little expedition into Iraq for the time being.

  • Morpheus

    So we have billions in reserve for wars but a crumbling health service and food banks going through the roof. Oh joy

  • Morpheus

    For the umpteenth time, I am not against cuts. I am all for smart, focused cuts and trimming the fat. We are nowhere near that. I am for our politicans coming together and saying to the tories that the cuts will have x, y and z consequences on Northern Ireland and at the very least putting up a bit of a fight for the people they were elected to represent.

    I suggest re-reading some of the impact above and remembering that every one of those numbers is a person, a family. Catholics, protestants, young, old, disabled…they need help and jobs, not fecked over by our politicians too cowardly to fight for them.

    http://postimg.org/image/wpzxfzzub/

  • Comrade Stalin

    I am for our politicians coming together and saying to the tories … [snip]

    Already did that. Negotiated a deal. Gerry Adams rejected it.

    What else have you got ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    crumbling health service ? People keep telling me it’s the best in the world.

  • Zeno1

    ” half the population ideologically against it’s very existence “-

    The Nationalist vote in the last Election was less than 23% of the Electorate. Roughly half is a republican fantasy.

  • Zeno1

    “are we all ready for the Right Honorable Martin McGuinness, First Minister of Northern Ireland?”

    Is it his turn already? Him and Peter must have done the deal when they were happy and smiling with each other at the Ryder Cup today as Northern Ireland crumbles.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I think what Jag is trying to get at is that transfers don’t count when it comes to the First Minister’s position after St Andrews.

    Er, yes they do. Because as of 2011 the DUP have 38 Assembly seats with 30% of the vote (1.26 seats per %) ; SF have 29 seats with 26.9% of the vote (1.07 seats per %). The DUP are evidently better at making transfers work for them.

    For the past while the DUP have underperformed in European elections and to a lesser extent council elections. The 18.2% they won in 2009 was obviously substantially lower than the 30% they won in 2011. It

  • Morpheus

    Negotiated a deal that has never got as far as the assembly floor and ‘negociated’ by a man who lied to his committee and changed the minutes of meetings. Nice.

    You don’t seem to care about those who will be on the sharp end of the cuts. You have no idea what the impact will be but are happy to cut away anyway and take money from those who can least afford it without trimming any if the abundance of fat.

    And to be clear if the DUP were fighting for the people of NI then I would be saying the same thing.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Expect SF at 33 and DUP at 30,

    that’s hilarious. You are aware that SF’s all-time high is 26.9% of the vote in 2011 and they’ve been falling since then, right ? (euros : 25.5%; councils : 24.1%).

    How on earth do you have SF jumping 6 percentage points from 26.9% up to 33% in the space of four years, or looking at the council elections, jumping from 9 percentage points in the space of one year ?

    and also how do you figure the DUP staying fixed at the same result they got in 2011 (their all time high) but losing unionist seats to UKIP, the PUP and the TUV ?

    I think you should stay well away from psephology and stick to the day job.

    Stormont elections by end of 2014 would free the Shinners for Westminster elections in May 2015

    Anyone in politics will tell you that fighting a winter election is the worst kind of nightmare they can imagine. Nobody wants to do it. How do you get volunteers to trudge around the streets on cold, dark nights marking off their paperwork under a torch ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Negotiated a deal that has never got as far as the assembly floor

    it never got to the assembly floor because SF vetoed it. They also vetoed an attempt to discuss the budget at the Executive committee meeting yesterday.

    and ‘negociated’ by a man who lied to his committee and changed the minutes of meetings. Nice.

    It was negotiated by OFMDFM, the finance minister and the British government, and it mitigated almost all of the cuts you are talking about. But feel free to continue with your delusion.

    You don’t seem to care about those who will be on the sharp end of the cuts. You have no idea what the impact will be but are happy to cut away

    Well, now we’re into the twilight zone. I am not the Chancellor of the Exchequer. They’re not my cuts and I’m not “happy” about them.

    I believe that the Tories cannot and will not be persuaded to reverse their welfare reform plans. How do you derive from this the idea that I am “happy” about cuts and that I don’t care about their impact ? It’s clear that we are operating on different planes. I am in the reality based community; you seem to occupy some sort of dreamworld whereby SF and the DUP working together can reverse a policy that Ed Milliband says he’s going to retain if he becomes Prime Minister.

  • Comrade Stalin

    “Right Honourable” (we are not Americans) is a title accorded to those who have been appointed to Her Majesty’s Privy Council who are in turn generally drawn from the Commons and the Lords. I am not quite sure that Martin is likely to be appointed there, not only because he is no longer an MP, and not only because he did not take his seat, but because I suspect a republican is unlikely to accept an honourific title from the monarch.

  • Croiteir

    The nationalist vote fluctuates around the lower 40% mark, the unionists in the upper 40% mark, others account for the rest. So it is entirely fair and accurate to say that roughly half the population is ideologically opposed to the existence of the state

  • Morpheus

    Oh here we go, I disagree so I am ‘delusional’ and ‘occupy some sort of dreamworld’ – any idea how mind-numbingly boring that is to me? Bring back the CS who could at least have a respectful, intelligent debate.

    If you think that OFMDFM negotiated the deal then I suggest having a word with the DUP:

    “The greatest step that the DCAL Minister could take would be to ignore the dictates from her Party masters in Dublin and get on with implementing the Welfare Reform Bill as negotiated by Nelson McCausland. Nelson negotiated the best deal of anywhere in the United Kingdom which had a £30m contingency fund to protect the vulnerable, a mechanism to avoid the so-called bedroom tax and flexibilities with payments.”

    From yesterday no less.

    The “best deal of anywhere in the United Kingdom” that hasn’t been taken to assembly brought to you by the guy who brought us headlines like “Nelson McCausland ordered me to alter contract talks memo: civil servant” and “Unionists have insisted DUP minister Nelson McCausland should consider resigning after a Stormont committee found he had intentionally misled MLAs.”

    As Michael Copeland says

    “This legislation has been bogged down, I think, since 2012. At that stage, the Minister brought it forward, seemingly trying to implement it in its totality, including clauses that applied discounting as income compensation paid as a result of the London bombings. The Minister needs to bring forward the Bill and let the Chamber do its legislative job, which is to decide on it. ”

    Maybe we should see the detail BEFORE deciding it is the best deal available eh?

    If our politicians – and I am talking SF, DUP, SDLP, UUP, Alliance, TUV, Greens, PUP etc.- simply roll over and accept these cuts then of course the Tories won’t budge on their manifesto pledge. But regardless, I am not talking about an all out assault on the Government, I am talking about a united front showing that we appreciate cuts need to be made but doing it so blindly, so quickly, do deeply without trimming the fat first will have a devastating impact on the people of Northern Ireland.

    “The policy in GB is clearly failing, and I see nothing to reinforce the view that it will do anything other than fail here. DWP is 986,740 short of the original target of moving one million people to universal credit by April. In fact, Iain Duncan Smith also missed his own revised and much downgraded target of 184,000.” M. Copeland

    That is is not a system we should be rushing to implement and I find it appalling that the First Minister of this country can stand up and say that we should implement the cuts and this system even though he has no idea whatsoever what impact they will have on the people he represents. Absolutely appalling. If this ‘best deal of anywhere in the United Kingdom’ was done ages ago then surely by now he has an idea of how much will not be ringing through our tills, what impact it will have and what we are going to do to mitigate the loss. The people of Northern Ireland deserve better that ‘ack, sure we’ll do it anyway and see what happens’

    We need investment to bring jobs to NI so fewer people are on benefits, we need a more robust system to prevent fraud and ensures that only those who need help get help, we need to invest in social housing so those who have a spare room have somewhere to go – we do not need cuts to those who can least afford it while the economy loses £70b a year through tax avoidance and loopholes.

    I suggest responding with manners or not responding at all.

  • Morpheus
  • Comrade Stalin

    Bring back the CS who could at least have a respectful, intelligent debate.

    You accused me of supporting cuts and not caring about those who would be on the receiving end, you dismissed out of hand the notion of a deal having already been made (it’s generally accepted that a deal existed) and you have failed, several times over, to deal with the key issue. That isn’t intelligent debate, so you can’t blame me for responding in kind.

    That key issue is encapsulated in the following question. Exactly on what basis do you believe that the Tories can be persuaded to reverse their policy given that Labour have now all but endorsed it ?

    You can’t selectively decide when you trust or do not trust DUP statements. The DUP may have seen advantage in crediting Nelson with the negotiations but only someone poorly informed and naive would believe that high level talks with the treasury on an issue effecting the entire Northern Ireland budget would take place without involving the finance minister and the NI leadershp of both major parties.

  • Comrade Stalin
  • Morpheus

    Oh right, so Nelson said he did the negotiations, the DUP said Nelson did the negotiations, The SoS said Nelson did the negotiations and the media reports that Nelson did the negotiation but you know better and anyone who disagrees is naive and poorly informed. Gotcha.

    In short you have no idea what the deal is, you have no idea if it really is the best deal (for all of us) possible, you have no idea what the impact will be and you do know that the Government are widely missing their targets but you still think we should just go ahead with them anyway because the Tories have a manifesto pledge to keep.

    You’re right about one thing, this isn’t intelligent debate.

    To address your “key issue” then there is nothing to be lost by a united Stormont presenting a strong, logical case to Westminster that these cuts will be devastating to the people and economy of Northern Ireland – ie. putting up a bit of a fight instead of just rolling over. Our politicians could explain that the cuts are supposed to get people back to work but we don’t have enough work to offer them. Explain that we appreciate that those with a spare room should give it up to those in need but we don’t have anywhere smaller to send them.

    You disagree, good for you, but I repeat:

    “The demographic that will be the most seriously affected is not the scroungers, even though they do not really exist, or the unemployed; it is low-paid working families with children.”

    Protestant low-paid working families with children will be most seriously affected, Catholic low-paid working families with children will be most seriously affected, no religion low-paid working families with children will be most seriously affected.

    They need someone to fight for them, it should be those who are elected and employed to do so.

  • Jag

    Gosh, CS, you’re a fount of knowledge, why don’t you correct Wiki which seems to disagree with you.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Right_Honourable#United_Kingdom

    The FMs of Wales, Scotland and NI are automatically appointed to the PC, they don’t get a say in the matter. The Shinners mightn’t like the Bailiff moniker when they resign from the Commons, but “Right Honorable” isn’t discretionary.

    Martin O’Muilleoir didn’t have any problem with his “Right Honorable” title, so maybe, you overestimate Republican sensitivities.

  • Jag

    SF threw the kitchen sink at the May 2014 elections, but only in the Republic. They increased their capacity as a party considerably with three new MEPs and an additional 100 councillors, and at the next NI election, we should see that muscle being deployed. It’s what GA calls the joinedyuppedness that the Shinners are now pursuing. Will that mean you see Cork councillors on the doorsteps in Cushendall? Damned right you will, supporting their local comrade.

    If SF, with its new assets, throws the kitchen sink at Stormont elections, 30% is eminently achievable, just you wait and see.

    As for a winter election, inclement weather takes a back seat to the opportunity to concentrate your all-Ireland assets on an electorate that is only 50% bigger than the population of Dublin.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The SoS said Nelson did the negotiations

    When did the SoS say that ?

    but you know better and anyone who disagrees is naive and poorly informed. Gotcha.

    I didn’t say that. Why are you making things up ?

    In short you have no idea what the deal is

    It’s been reported that the deal was agreed and incorporated mitigation of the bedroom tax.

    you still think we should just go ahead with them anyway because the Tories have a manifesto pledge to keep.

    Where did I say that ?

    You cannot accuse people of failing to be intelligent and then attribute to them opinions and comments that they did not make.

    To address your “key issue” then there is nothing to be lost by a united Stormont presenting a strong, logical case to Westminster that these cuts will be devastating

    You’re right. There’s nothing to be lost by talking to a brick wall. That doesn’t mean that it is worth doing.

  • WindsorRocker

    “Let the people decide?”….. and what would an election change about welfare reform and the deadlock. The two main nationalist parties both have their heads in the sand and presumably I don’t see their voters abandoning them as they still speak for them on the main communal issues of the day. So we’re still going to have a situation where a broad swathe of non nationalists accept reality and try to make the best of the situation and minimise the disruption to the widest spectrum of people but where SF/SDLP can block something that has nothing to do with the cultural/identity balance in NI but everything to do with prudent fiscal governance.

  • Morpheus

    The above quote from the SoS saying that Nelson did a good job on the negotiations was reported on January 29th, 2014.

    Your whole premise seems to be that the Tories have spoken therefore it is set in stone. I believe that if our politicians shows a united front and put forward a strong, logical case for why these cuts will have a devastating impact on the people of Northern Ireland then the UK government will listen to the plight of it’s citizens. They already know that Northern Ireland will be hit disproportionately hardest of all UK regions and that the people hit hardest in the hardest hit region of the UK are the working families with children. It needs to be reinforced that our unemployed to available jobs ratio is incredibly poor and the impact on child poverty is completely unacceptable

    I see Cameron has announced this today:

    Update – Prime Minister also reveals plans in Sunday Times to ban people aged 18-21 from claiming Jobseeker's Allowance or Housing Benefit— Sky News Newsdesk (@SkyNewsBreak) September 27, 2014

    20% of our 18-24s are unemployed as an FYI.

    We already have headlines like this ”
    3,000 a day fed on charity meals”

    “One charity says it is feeding 3,000 local people a day and would feed more if it could get more food, while the largest food bank organisation here gave three-day emergency packs to 11,697 people last year.

    How long before we start getting stories like this:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/welfare-reforms-are-driving-social-housing-tenants-to-consider-suicide-9052710.html

    and this
    http://www.unitetheunion.org/news/welfare-reforms-driving-some-people-to-the-verge-of-suicide-says-unite/

  • Comrade Stalin

    Your whole premise seems to be that the Tories have spoken therefore it is set in stone.

    No, my premise is that we have spent four years since the Tories came to power as part of a coalition with a mandate to implement welfare reform, that all the other regions of the UK accepted the changes more or less without a fight, and now that Ed Miliband and Labour have committed themselves to maintaining the reforms (apart from the bedroom tax), the policy is now simply a fact which is too late to reverse.

    There is no point in wasting any more time discussing this; it’s none of my business whether you accept reality or not. All governments have budgets that they have to stick to. If a political party in Northern Ireland wishes to advocate a more generous welfare state funded by increasing rates and introducing other sources of state funding they should be honest enough to say so.