Theresa Villiers is a semi-detached secretary of state. She needs to focus up, or go.

Mick’s post brings out the striking  ontrast between this debate in the Dail and how Westminster is currently dealing with Northern Ireland.  There is a powerful irony that Dublin is far more interested in our affairs than London, even though London as the paymasters has the overwhelming responsibility.

In NI questions on the same day,Theresa Villiers limited herself to a fatalistic statement of the position  on deadlock. Although she has met the parties there have been no serious attempts at persuasion or coaxing, if only to show that London is making the effort.Her line has generally coincided with the DUP’s.

Compared with Scotland or even Wales, attention to NI has been virtually non-existent. Now you might argue that this is shrewd tactics, declining to raise the stakes and  staring out Sinn Fein in an attempt to call their bluff. But I doubt it. Sinn Fein may have the stamina to hold out until the elections north and south and allow the drawing on account on  the following year’s block grant to build up further.

 It remain to be seen  whether the UK government will let them. The signs are that they won’t, but there is an air of dream like unreality about  the whole business   Granted that London has many more  fish to fry than Dublin, it’s still a great pity that the UK government have been so passive and non-interventionist for so long. One flurry of a hot- house negotiation in Stormont House last Christmas  was clearly not enough. We have been living with that failure for too long. While  she can reasonably claim that the stand off is hardly her fault, she remains the representative of the  government that is ultimately responsible.  Ms Villiers seems to have no aptitude for the sort of person to person contacts that are essential for the job. I can’t imagine  very different predecessors from Paddy Mayhew to Mo Mowlan, John Reid and Peter Hain behavingly so passively.

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  • the rich get richer

    Britain, London, The Paymasters have basically a one way Street of Bad News from Northern Ireland for as long as they can remember and even their Fore/Mothers/Fathers.

    In essence they don’t want to here about the Place at all.

    Can You imagine being in their Shoes. Paying Handsomely for Northern Ireland.

    Northern Ireland is lucky that they do not Dwell too long On Northern Ireland.

    A Penny might Drop and that Penny would be costly financially for The Wee Six.

  • chrisjones2

    I disagree.

    She has to be disengaged because the problem is not hers its SF and the DUPS. They need to sort it. Calling in Auntie Theresa to enable them to shed the blame will not help

    We are in this state because earlier Sos’s didn’t do this and all the parties could run to them to do little side deals on OTRS, money, etc

    The reality is that Stormont will not fail – the parties all make too much money to let it

  • james

    Now you might argue that this is shrewd tactics, declining to raise the stakes and staring out Sinn Fein in an attempt to call their bluff.

    Yes, I think so.

    Sinn Fein have occupied a ridiculous position in demanding even more money, in the full and certain knowledge that less is available, even as they have blatantly squandered public money on vote-winning white elephants like schools that serve no one’s best interests by teaching a tiny number of students in a language that is supremely unuseful anywhere outside this island and of highly dubious usefulness even here, on lavish construction contracts (for ‘friends’ in need?), on entirely unnecessary translations from the language that practically everybody here speaks into a language that practically no one does, and on salaries for unnecessary ‘advisors’, whom are often enough apparently ex-cons. Their much vaunted ‘average industrial wage’ of course spares no expense whatever to the public purse, as the balance is siphoned off to goodness knows what end, and it is also, by the way, remarkable that anyone on the average industrial wage could afford to dress in the gorgeous, ruinously expensive suits in which the likes of messrs Kelly and McGuinness strut their ageing stuff.

    That the current SOS fails to pander to every passing whim of our largely ineffectual politicos, particularly on the nationalist front, as Mo Mowlam often seemed to do is hardly what I would consider a criticism.

  • james

    So your hope is that we will all have less money here?

    Forgive me if I misinterpret your wild and random capitalization as a sign of high excitement.

  • Thomas Barber

    Its pretty obvious its not only Sinn Fein or republicans who are determined to bankrupt this little statelet, the DUP, UUP, and Loyalist paramilitaries excercising their toxic culture backed by the antics of the Orange order are just as guilty. Hopefully this failed statelet is bankrupted and we non voting Irish people will see if the British government really are serious about not investing anymore money into this failed entity when the country is bankrupt, we shall see if Britain honestly has no selfish or economic interest in this part of Ireland and we can thank the Orange Order, the DUP and Loyalists for playing their part in costing the British taxpayer as much money as possible keeping a British presence in this part of Ireland.

  • Mike the First

    “There is a powerful irony that Dublin is far more interested in our affairs than Dublin”
    Assuming you meant London by that second “Dubin”, Brian, did you not stop to consider the fact that Nama is an Irish state body?

  • Korhomme

    Theresa Villiers may well be semi-detached; but who could criticise her for this attitude? Perhaps she recognises that progress here depends on the local parties getting their acts together, yet all she sees are entrenched positions, bluster, intransigence, no evidence of coalition politics with jointly agreed positions and a complete lack of vision (except about the ‘right’ kind of sex).

  • Brian Walker

    Mike, sorry, correction ” than London”,. Thanks

  • Dan

    Still, nice of the Prime Minister to admit yesterday, that there was no decommissioning of Semtex………Rev. Goode and Fr Reid lied to us all.

  • kalista63

    As I recall, Villiers was berth a bit of a bother around the time of the 2010 election, something to do with the new airport or runway at Heathrow. I do recall thinking that they just shifted her off scene.

    In truth, how many quality politicians have held the position, how many gave a toss. Then we have Cameron’s limited interests, very much focused on London. This isn’t a man with any interest in the regions, see the withdrawal of finance for the northern rail network. Yeah, he’s a unionist at election time, with one eye on the possibility of not getting a majority, just as he was a one Nation man in May.

  • the rich get richer

    I have taken to the Random Capitalization to Amuse myself ! !

    Just Pointing out That the Piper Plays the Tune but perhaps the Piper will not Play always or Forever.

  • Nevin

    “In NI questions on the same day”

    Brian, there was no NI questions session; the SoS and her PS were appearing before the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee.

  • barnshee

    Consider the oo parade at Rosnowlagh virtually zero cost
    Compare with Belfastl
    Check slugger for the detail on where the burden on the state is based

  • murdockp

    If you ever watch the Thick of It, the position of NI Secretary is the poisoned chalice of all government portfolios.
    Dealing with this lot is just impossible.

  • Robin Keogh

    The shinners again eh !

  • Thomas Barber

    The burden on the state is those so called loyal subjects ensuring it costs the treasury as much as possible each and every year maintaining the loyalist version of British culture in Ireland. Irish Republicans on the other hand have no such loyalty its really no skin off their noses how much it costs Britain maintaining its presence in Ireland.

  • barnshee

    Check where the money is spent

  • barnshee

    Its SF who are demanding more money for their “client electorate”– and its not coming They are up the proverbial without a paddle- what can they do– other than bluster There will be no more funds from London

  • james

    HopE it’S worKing for You.

  • Brian Walker

    Absolutely right Nevin, thanks.. I should know that NIQs only happen on Wednesdays, having sat in on them often enough.

  • barnshee

    “Sinn Fein may have the stamina to hold out until the elections north and south and allow the drawing on account on the following year’s block grant to build up further.”

    Seriously? do I understand you ? bring in money from next year`s “income” when you are already in debt? what happens when “next year” arrives draw down again., From where from whom?

  • barnshee

    “The Paymasters have basically a one way Street of Bad News from Northern Ireland ”

    It appears that (forgive me) we have at last an SOS who has grown a set of balls.

    “You are particularly well funded- you have the devolved administraion you claimed to desire- the party is over– now foxtrot oscar and sort it out your selves. PS mummy`s purse is closed”

  • chrisjones2

    I agree. Best to just ignore them and tell them to sort it out

  • chrisjones2

    So what does it cost policing those protests at Ardoyne?

  • chrisjones2

    ….and the whole GFA is built on a lie. If they failed to decommission Semtex what else did they hold back?

  • 71N15

    I don’t think she really has much knowledge of NI. There’s not much evidence of much personal charm and when she speaks it seems she is always reading from a prepared script. I’ve never seen her having to speak on NI on the hoof. It was said that she asked to keep the NI portfolio, I think she knew it was NI or nothing, so to keep her Cabinet seat, NI it is.

  • james

    Perhaps they believe in Leprechauns and pots of gold, still, which will be found on every street corner just as soon them dastardly planters can be put out and Oireland returned to its mystical pre-lapserian state. And there’ll be no more need of budgets.

  • james


  • Thomas Barber

    I dont know but do you think it costs just as much policing the nationalist protest at Ardoyne as it costs for the policing of all Orange parades, the police presence at camp twaddle, the clean up costs for all loyalist bonfires, compensation for damage to public and private property resulting from loyalist bonfires and then we could include the funding given to loyalist bonfires from the various councils.

    Which one do you think is the highest ?

  • OneNI

    “no serious attempts at persuasion or coaxing,” Brian are you seriously suggesting that the UK should make some attempt to persuade or coax SF!

  • james

    Is that really your best attempt at repudiation of what I wrote, Robin? Tell me, are you a believer in the SF doctrine that ‘if enough people believe it then it must be false’?

  • Robin Keogh

    I have absolutely no idea what u are talking about

  • james