What’s in Robinson’s secret ultimatum to Villiers

So here it comes, the DUP’s ultimatum to the Secretary of State:

DUP leader Peter Robinson has said his party would continue to talk, but warned that if devolution collapsed it could be a decade before it returned.

The first minister has held talks with the Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers but details of the ultimatum have not been made public.


No point in bluffing if your opponent’s don’t think you’ll do it [Oh really, will the bunny finally get it? – Ed] Maybe.

A ten year cordon would dump the GFA whilst the party scuttles to relative safety. It would also deal decisively with the issue of any further politically charged killings that might arise. Extreme, but the purpose is to force London’s legislative hand rather than to pull the columns of the Stormont temple down around everyone’s ears.

As an aside. Oliver Moody, writing in the London Times last week waxed on the moral virtues of Cicero:

Cicero knew that true statecraft takes two kinds of bravery: the bravery to make and publicly justify an unpopular but necessary fudge; and the bravery to risk everything when the time for fudging is over.

Move along now, nothing to see here. Not yet at least.

  • nilehenri

    “The DUP says if the Northern Ireland Assembly is not adjourned or suspended their ministers will quit, amid an IRA row.

    DUP leader Peter Robinson warned that could happen within 24 hours.”

    Source BBC

    the dup cut a sorry figure, an ex-uup member, gregory (out on his ear with the new boundary comission), the singing rev, an as yet un-identified blonde lady and simon, pegged on at the end as an after-thought. almost makes me wish for the days of paisley, molyneaux et al, at least they could get an emotional rise out of ye.

    as pete stamps his protestant foot in protestant ulster it will be interesting to see theresa’s response.

    you mentioned cicero, i’ll mention nero. why does every outgoing leader of the dup seem hell bent on destroying what they leave behind? is it really that bad?

  • chrisjones2

    “the singing rev” who is seatless

    “Is it really that bad?” – no but they are

  • gendjinn
  • Ernekid

    Shut it all down. Stop all ministerial salaries. Give MLAs their P45s. Sell Parliament buildings to the Hastings Group so they can turn it into a luxury hotel.

  • gendjinn

    Shorter SF: “Please, please, please Peter, don’t throw us in that briar patch.”

  • Chingford Man

    Thought for Today: if you are a leading IRA man and you think you can murder and everyone will still share power with Sinn Fein, you’re wrong.

  • Brian Walker

    Mick,”10 years” is a piece of rhetoric. Noone knows how long it would be The impulse for UK devolution would demand an earlier effort and perhaps a different electoral system to encourage cross community voting. And Dublin wouldl not be far behind. Abandonment would of course be a tremendous victory for assorted hoods, young, middle aged and old, the very outcome that unionists demand should be impossible.

    The elements of the GFA would not be entirely dumped but might require recasting. There would be renewed hysteria over the consent principle even though that rests with the people not the Assembly. How else would a secretary of state judge that there was a majority in favour of a referendum, on unity, other than by votes for and in the Assembly?

    Strands 1 would be badly frayed but the provision for a civic forum would be worth reviving perhaps with input form elected councillors; Strand 2 looks forlorn but didn’t fulfill its promise anyway. Strand 3’s British – Irish intergovernmental conference would be the big’un. Under the Conservatives there might be a little less stress on greenery but still the Irish would be expected to have a lot to say..

    Gaderene swine are like sheep compared with this lot, all the same, unless…???

  • AndyB

    Peter should be careful what he wishes for, because he might get it. I still reckon on Westminster calling his bluff this parliament and proroguing the Assembly indefinitely with no salaries to be paid – maybe not today, but soon enough.

  • aquifer

    Secret Tory DUP deal to stitch up SF? Its not a secret if we all see it coming.

    In the GFA dispensation this DUP control freakery is not viable, as it cannot command a cross community consensus. We need a series of elections with UK Gov insisting it is not to be blackmailed into rewriting rules to suit any side of the sectarian split.

    Peter Robinson’s DUP were rubbish at operating the Executive in a collective manner, disrespecting every other party. Lets have elections until we find someone with a clue how this can work.

  • murdockp

    have a thought for the general public here. what change will they notice in their everyday lives when stormont falls? absolutely nothing.

    a basket case of an administration run by people with so little talent they would languish in low paid middle management if they were not in government.

  • Zig70

    Don’t be so mean. Middle management provides a valuable role.

  • mickfealty

    That’s why I say you cannot bluff if you aren’t prepared to act. That’s why SF’s bunny keeps getting put back in the box so often. I personally don’t think the DUP is acting lightly. You have to ask the other question.

    How exactly do you fix this problem (of the IRA defaulting on SF’s long term commitments) in the short term?

    Ten years on would see Robo out of politics, and Adams and McGuinness (not to mention Storey and other key figures) well into their 70s. That might fix it. But then politically you are writing off the next ten years, and that only if you can find the motivation or will to bring something back.

  • mickfealty

    Of course Brian. And first Robbo is playing out the rope gradually and holding out the hope/possibility of a near term resolution. But the ante is now well beyond SF tipping their whole hand in on Welfare.

    That was doable since it’s never been exactly clear why the Shinners dropped that hand in the first place. But the RA is firmly back on the table. It took five years last time to gain sufficient confidence to move last time.

    Considering the problems arise from an apparent breach of trust, if it is let collapse now and all rhetoric aside, any resolution will inevitably focus on dealing with those who allowed such a breach.

    If it does fall then there is almost nothing Adams can offer that will convince unionists to deal with him. Whatever the outcome, there’s going to have to be some pain to get another deal that sticks this time.

  • kalista63

    ‘Peter Robinson’s DUP were rubbish at operating the Executive in a collective manner, disrespecting every other party. Lets have elections until we find someone with a clue how this can work.’

    And no better example than health. Its completely clear that the DUP have zero interest in everyday politics

  • Dan

    ….sdlp will never walk away for them though. Always there, shoulder to shoulder.

  • kalista63


    But not in the sense you mean.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Nice choice of words Mick – “apparent breach of trust”. Re, your last paragraph, perhaps SF offers NI the largest single party voting block. Disenfranchising those voters for, as you put it, an “apparent breach of trust”, will offer up some interesting options. Astonishingly nothing has yet been proved, yet unionism marches headlong out of Stormont, but why let facts get in the way of a good old headline grabbing strop. BTW I reckon the polis are probably right that ex Provo’s were involved and if they charge and prove Storey’s involvement then the moral high ground will be reached. Another panacea for this little province….

  • gendjinn

    “….there is almost nothing Adams can offer that will convince unionists to deal with him.”

    You have that the wrong way around. It will be Unionism paying the price to get Stormont up and running again once they realise that SF don’t need it and they do. JA with SF in govt in the south? They will be begging for Stormont back.

    Although perhaps Unionism are hoping the dissidents will step up with a line “What did we tell you, can’t do a deal with Unionism.” Combined with current non-dissident Republicans saying “Well we gave them 20 years, there’s only one thing they understand.” I mean, Unionism did tell us that the ceasefire was the greatest threat to the Union since Noah.

  • Pat Mac Murphy

    Give it to the Syrian refugees…

  • chrisjones2

    We might find that we don’t want or need it

  • chrisjones2

    JA is a Republican wet dream

  • chrisjones2

    “Disenfranchising those voters” …there are two franchises and they still have representatives at Councils and at Westminster. They are no more disenfranchised than anyone else

  • Steve Larson

    A ten year break might as well have Adams and McGuinness tell the dissidents that they were right after all.

    That trying politics with Unionism just doesn’t work.

    To keep the process moving forward, Dublin would have to be given a significant say in the running of the North and all outstanding parts around the GFA would have to be implemented.

    Will Dublin and London tolerate Unionism for staying out that long, I doubt it. It certainly will not win friends in either Govt.

    Another few years, a stronger UUP and It would be easy to see McGuinness as First Minister.

    Is that what Unionism is running from, that would be a significant blow to the psyche.

  • Steve Larson

    I agree that it will be Unionism that will be the long term price politically over a collapse.

    Any deferral will only be temporary, whether that is 5 weeks, months or years.

    Power sharing will return. Even if Ireland was reunited in the morning I’d see Stormont continuing to exist.

    A deferral for till after the Dublin election might suit SF very well as it would free up resources to concentrate on Leinster hse.

  • Steve Larson

    Every decade since the 1960s has seen Unionism’s fortunes and hegemony decline as the monolith cracks and they have to move over in the bed.

    When you are from a paranoid political culture anyway but see actual declines in your fortune then it causes panic.

    Walking away and pretending that things will go back to like they were often seems like an option.

    Avoidance likes that always makes things worse and it always has for Unionism, this time will be no different.

    Collapse away, Peter.

  • chrisjones2
  • gendjinn

    I’m impressed with the number of fallacies packed into such a pithy retort.


  • mickfealty

    If it’s down ten years Martin really will be an elder statesman. Mid to late 70s. As Feeney said tonight, neither of them is going away you know.

  • murdockp

    yes middle management does stuff. but these guys are paid to be our leaders.

  • Sharpie

    I wonder what, beyond a few months or even five years of attritional victories, is the concept or vision of success for Unionism. What type of place would they like to live in given that the world is entirely changing around them? The change will be accelerated in the coming two decades by the integration into the EU of millions of new nationalities who once settled – will have the ability to move at will through the EU.

    Shutting up shop against everyone is surely going to create a long, agonising, inevitable uncomfortable demise – like a cranky relative who has looked old from they were 30.

    Right now from here, while it is “plague on all your houses” history is going to be harder on the role of political Unionism for the failure of GFA and the wasted two decades that followed.

  • eireanne

    it’s not you know- republicans never wanted it or campaigned for it. It may however be the only way to ensure governance of NI https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2015/08/28/joint-authoritysovreignty-in-ni-faq/

  • Virginia

    What if the ten years turn out to be a brilliant experiment of limited government and self sufficiency? Sink or swim. NI is a very small part of the UK so if you are a Tory why not? Let it fall, then see what happens. The truly irritated can move to their chosen “mainland”, so nobody really gets hurt in this scenario.

  • paulgraham7567

    Was there really anything that Adams could offer?

    U should know by now Mick that I sit firmly in the centre, would love more than anything to see middle ground politics prosper, and DUP/SF marginalised.

    But 1 thing I’ve come to realise. Sectarianism is so ingrained in our politics I doubt we’ll change for at least 50 years.

    We need to maintain whatever peace we can, imperfect as it may be, until all the combatants have died off.

    Then hopefully our kids/grandkids can make a better job of settling this nonsense.

  • paulgraham7567

    No, they are paid to stop killing each other.

  • Chingford Man

    Hopefully we will be out of the EU soon.

  • Pasty2012

    If the Actions of Individuals is to be placed on an Organisation then how does that sit with the Unionist Party Members who over the last few years have been convicted of sex abuse and putting cameras in toilets ? The Chief Constable was clear when he said that Individual members or Ex-Members had carried out acts for their own gain and that His and the PSNI’s belief is that any structures of the IRA that may exist are engaged in peaceful political activities in order to gain their objective.
    What is the problem with that Mr Nesbitt. They have Disarmed Unlike the Unionist Paramilitary’s who you claim to be talking to in order to bring them along. If that’s the case and you believe the IRA still exists then why don’t you try and bring them along instead of pulling the System Down just so that you can introduce Welfare Cuts.
    Ordinary Working Class Unionists need to look at the full situation and ask themselves the same questions in relation to ALL Paramilitary Organisations and then look at the overall objectives of the Conservative UUP and their demands to cut benefits to low paid workers and those relying on disability benefits. Nesbit and families of the Unionist MLA’s and MP’s will not be affected as they all work in the family business around politics – they don’t employ ordinary Unionist people in paid roles that they can give to their wife or sons and daughters.

  • Redstar

    I reckon the SDLP are gonna buckle after their meeting with Kenny and support the DUP.- possibly by abstaining

  • mickfealty

    Yes. And someone screwed up in that regard.

  • mickfealty

    Why leave SF out of that negative assessment. They only had one spending ministry. What’s changed there? You can’t do government on the boast that you are going to have a fight a day. Set expectations at zero and you’ll come out at minus figures. That’s what’s happened.

  • mickfealty

    Well I’ve always said it does leave Gerry freer to follow his southern rainbow. And it will bury nationalist disengagement for a while longer. But how do you imagine the loss of a local mandate will help anyone?

  • mickfealty

    Perception is everything in PR and Politics. The PSNI’s Intel is for once extremely unambiguous. No unionist can live with perception that a govt party can murder on the ground rivals and not have to answer for it.

  • Chingford Man


  • chrisjones2

    “the Unionist Party Members who over the last few years have been convicted of sex abuse and putting cameras in toilets ? ”

    …;.and the Shinners convicted of child abuse, incest, rape or who have gone on the run. HOw much what about do you want? Speeding? Shoplifting?

    “What is the problem with that Mr Nesbitt.?”

    Its ILLEGAL . We were told it had gone. It hasn’t. We were told it disarmed. It didn’t. It has murdered 39 people since we were told all that

  • chrisjones2

    Political welfare addiction seems to be worse than heroin as at least heroin addicts want to get off it

  • chrisjones2

    with the loss of all that Northern money that props up SFs operation in the South?

  • Heather Richardson

    Yes, that’s what I’d put my money on happening.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Silly post Chris.

  • Redstar

    Well that way everybody keeps their seat on the gravy train

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Agreed and your perception is all over the shop. Even your blinkered view must recognise the political theatre being played by unionisn. One fact remains, nothing has, as yet, been proven, so even your holier than thou “perception” doesn’t stand up. Unionism jumped the gun and seized upon an excuse to bring the curtain down on Stormont. Don’t be blaming anyone else. This is a unionist narrative, pure and simple.

  • Sharpie

    Then what? Watch the investment flow westwards into Ireland. NI Unionists are not in charge of that debate and therefore not in charge of their destiny. They are no longer in charge of their destiny – except for a short term veto on change. My point is that change is happening everywhere around and to ignore it or pretend it is not going to affect a village in North Antrim or Fermanagh is at best unhelpful and at worst a very damaging position to take for the future heath of society.

    The debate desperately needs reframed and changed towards what is possible and away from fear of what might happen.

  • chrisjones2

    …and at the end of he will find no crock of gold….not even a crock

  • chrisjones2

    No its not. We would be as disenfranchised as say Cornwall or Greater Manchester

  • Reader

    Sharpie: I wonder what, beyond a few months or even five years of attritional victories, is the concept or vision of success for Unionism.
    I think that few of our existing politicians will be able to articulate it, but I suspect it is something like the following: That when a border poll is eventually carried out, the electorate chooses to retain the union in a public environment where there are still symbols of the union.
    Personally, I would go for a bigger win and fewer symbols, but I’m not grubbing for votes or attached to a political party.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Council and Westminster seats are meaningless. Stormont was supposed to be decision making executive for NI (I know, I know…). That executive is now, in essence, suspended, at the behest of unionism.

  • mickfealty

    No, not really. That’s one of his problems. The well of diminishing political resource and capital at Adams disposal.

  • Steve Larson

    That will be fine as well.

  • Robin Keogh

    Sensationalism again which only gives succour to political sectarianism. Unionism can adopt a perception if it fits their inter rival political priorities. Security services on both sides of the border have clearly stated they believe SF is committed to peace and democracy. Unionists are ignoring this in an effort to trip each other up. The end result will be a massive loss for Unionism. Again !

  • gendjinn

    “But how do you imagine the loss of a local mandate will help anyone?”

    Don’t think it does, but that’s really a question for those threatening to collapse the assembly without a shred of proof in the public domain.

    I’m merely pointing out that, yet again, Unionists are acting against their own self-interest in the mistaken belief that it take annoys/hurts Republicans.

    Do you think SF needs the assembly, if so what for?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    No more than the politics of the troubles they and the DUP continue to represent have in any way gone away.