The BBC report notes
Deputy leader Martin McGuinness said that he does not believe any of the main parties in Northern Ireland will play a role in the formation of the next government and that any claims to the contrary were “misleading”.
Well, Sinn Féin will not play any role. But other Northern Ireland parties might, depending on the result. That’s just the reality of the situation, regardless of what Martin McGuinness may, or may not, believe. But when you’ve made yourself mathematically irrelevant to the outcome, you probably have to pretend that everyone else is too…
Mr Adams called for a “dedicated” Northern Ireland plebiscite on the EU in the event of the Conservatives winning the Westminster general election and David Cameron honouring his pledge to hold an “in-out” vote on Europe.
“If there is to be a referendum – and there is no certainty about this – then Sinn Féin believes there must be a separate and binding one here in the North,” he said.
Mr Adams said that if Britain were to vote to quit Europe and Northern Ireland voted to remain then the North should be allowed continue as a member of the European Union.
Well, we can. After Northern Ireland declares independence and applies in our own right, and if we meet the Copenhagen criteria, we can join the other member states of the EU. [And don’t fiddle the books! – Ed] Until then, it’s all of the UK out, or none of the UK out.
It doesn’t stop there…
Mr McGuinness said that the first issue for Sinn Féin after the next London administration comes into power is to hold all-party negotiations with the British government on the current impasse over welfare reform.
[What do you call doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results? – Ed] But it worked so well for the party the last time!
Back to the BBC report
Sinn Féin is to seek an extra £1.5bn for Northern Ireland in negotiations with an incoming government.
What they’re going to negotiate with isn’t exactly clear… [Give us the money, or the bunny gets it! – Ed]
To a limited degree Sinn Fein must be hoping that MPs who do take their seats do have some influence. The republican party won’t want to lose seats, and probably won’t anyway. Yet getting more money from Britain is the way in which the Assembly is most likely to survive.
There is a caveat…
If the DUP and other Northern Ireland MPs have enough votes to sustain a minority government for five years then they might get something, but it would be through gritted teeth.
Both main British parties have made it clear that they intend cutting welfare further, £3bn in the case of Labour, £12bn from the Tories. Both have made it clear that if we want a more generous system then we can pay for it ourselves.
Changing that would be a major crisis and there would be complaints from other regions if they don’t get the same. Regions, that is, where British ministers and MPs are elected. The Scottish and Welsh legislatures would also be watching so bailing us out for busting our welfare budget could turn out to be an unexpectedly expensive decision.
And finally on Sinn Féin’s wish list, in case you’d forgotten…
Mr Adams also called for a Border poll on a united Ireland during the term of the next Northern Assembly which is due to start in May next year.
[“Economic crises, however severe, will come and go…” – Ed] Time for another World Tour, then…