Robinson’s comedy bloomers, or the limited value of purely tactical maneuvers…

My favourite Sinn Fein line of the last week was Danny Morrison saying that Peter Robinson wishes he was dealing with Gerry Fitt, but he’s actually dealing with Gerry Adams. [So Martin McGuinness is the office junior after all? – Ed].

This morning, Newton Emerson has nailed Peter Robinson’s problem more precisely than anyone else commenting this week:

Peter Robinson is all tactics and no strategy, which is how his brinkmanship ended up going over the brink. Each step the DUP leader took during the past two weeks to triangulate himself between the UUP and Sinn Fein made sense on its own but taken together they carried him too far.

Naturally, the master tactician had packed a parachute, in the form of a resignation that turned into seven days notice of a resignation with a non-resigning colleague minding his seat. But as he stood before the media in Stormont’s Great Hall and pulled the rip-cord on this life or death contrivance, its canopy seemed to open and immediately transform into an enormous pair of comedy bloomers. Tactically, he should still land in one piece.

Strategically, no-one will ever take his threats to jump seriously again.

With the exception of that last point (if only on the basis of let’s wait and see), yep.

To this we could also add the SDLP leader, who tactically dodged several bullets by putting Robinson in this awkward and humiliating position (I don’t think he saw that one coming).

Sinn Fein who had been gleefully preparing a gallows for them will have to wait another day for another easy tribute payment off the Stoops. It’s done internal morale some good and probably shut down internal dissent, for now.

But tactics aren’t strategy. Nothing in this engagement has done anything to define the party’s purposes and goals more sharply in the minds of the voters.

Robinson’s problem is the opposite. The sharp delineations of Gregory Campbell’s Curry My Yoghurt look just a little more smudged than it did before. For a party that has prided itself on crystal clear messaging that’s a problem Mike Nesbitt will/should seek to exploit.

Meanwhile, despite all the popcorn Martin McGuinness is willing to see method in Peter’s madness because he wants this gapping wound closed as quickly as possible. In the midst of this is another political collapse and a cold blooded political assassination.

He will want both events tidied away as quickly as possible before next year’s southern General Election possibly as early as March, and no later than April. This hasn’t played out yet.

  • The journos love what’s going at Stormont. You can’t get enough of it. You get loads of material & endless opportunities for analysis. Meanwhile this place is continuing along the road to hell lowest income levels in the UK etc etc. while these clowns in the asylum on the hill get to indulge their childish thirst for playground politics encouraged at every step by slavering media pack desperate to sell copy.

  • Why has no journalist pointed up the central ‘The IRA is peaceful/The IRA killed Kevin McGuigan’ contradiction in the CC’s statement? Or failing that, asked for even a teensy bit of evidence for his assertions? Isn’t something or another supposed to flourish when good men (and women – and they are all good men and women) say nothing?

  • Robin Keogh

    The entire episode is a monumenta backfire on Unionism. Outside the two murders there is literally nothing left to see politically unless something can be manufactured quickly. Sinn Fein has played a blinder; standing back and letting Nessie and Robbo make complete eejits of themselves with Enda Kenny and Micheal Martin not far behind in the gobdaw of the month competition.

  • Nevin

    “Newton Emerson has nailed Peter Robinson’s problem more precisely than anyone else”

    I see no mention of other key players – the two governments and the various police and security services – so there might be a few tacks but the nails are missing. Sam McBride could well be a more reliable observer.

  • James7e

    And, sure, who cares about a few murders, eh Robin? Certainly SF seem to regard them as all part of the cut and thrust of politics.

  • eac1968

    Good point Jude. What I’d like to know is if the CC was so sure of who was responsible for the murder that he was able to speak as he did, why has he not arrested the culprit? If he said what he did without evidence, surely at the very least he is guilty of unwarranted interference in the political process?

  • eireanne

    sam mc bride’s report of the resign, and resign again and resign again tactic doesn’t say that it could well contravene the ministerial code, that it makes total fools of voters and thumbs the DUP nose at 2 governments who have said they do not want suspension as well as at the stormont business committee that twice turned down the idea of adjournment. All this just to ensure the DUP gets its way that “it’s not business as usual” at stormont. https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2015/09/11/dup-boys-go-round-and-round/

  • mickfealty

    I’m with Feeney Jude: https://goo.gl/gdldV9

    It beggars belief that anyone other than the IRA did this ‘job’.

    Of course there’s mileage in the word play gambit, but it’s essentially a PR thing to push the denouement out of the current window.

    And in NI, it’s working very nicely. But on a southern sidebar, SF is down to 16% in the latest poll in the south. Only 2 down, but four below the pre summer corridor (http://ipi.tomlouwerse.nl/2015/06/irish-polling-indicator-fine-gael.html):

    https://twitter.com/T0mmyEnglish/status/642740568037195776

  • babyface finlayson

    Robin
    Do you think that is what the people want? To see one partner in government making eejits of themselves while the other partner (supposedly) lets them.
    Maybe a mature coalition would see Sinn Fein trying to help the DUP out of the corner they are painting themselves into.
    Played a blinder you say? By putting their own interests above that of the electorate.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    er .. the ministerial code has been violated many times over. Each time it has been violated by the DUP, it’s been taken to the floor of the assembly and then voted down using a Petition of Concern.

    The ministerial code is a joke; it has no teeth.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    I’m not sure what SF’s blinder here is. We don’t have a government. This doesn’t reflect well on everyone.

    Unless, of course, and as your comments seem to suggest, Sinn Féin see this whole thing as some sort of game to humiliate the unionists (and Sinn Féin’s Irish electoral rivals) rather than a serious process to build sustainable devolved government.

  • gendjinn

    Blinder? Not on the basis of the Red C poll out today. SF need LAB to be reduced to single digit TDs and an FG/FF gov in the 32nd to continue growing. If that doesn’t happen they will stall out and their ceiling will limit them to minor coalition partner. We all know their fate should that happen.

  • Robin Keogh

    Honestly, the polls dont bother me one way or another. No party could maintain high figures with the kinda of daily media and political assaults SF encounter. My hope is that come polling day we can manage 15% up. For me at least i would be very happy with double the current seat numbers.

  • gendjinn

    Well it’s not about being bothered or not, it’s the data and what it means in real terms, right?

    I disagree with you that 15% is good enough for the SF project. They need to entirely replace LAB this election cycle & the FG/FF dyad to resolve into a monad in the 32nd Dáil. Otherwise they don’t have a shot at senior coalition partner in the 33rd and that dooms them to stalling out.

    The absolute worst outcome for SF is either a minority FG/LAB gov with FF/IND support or a majority FG/LAB/IND. That will return us to the civil war dynamics we’ve been cursed with.

  • Robin Keogh

    While i believe firmly that SF will come out of the next election as the third largest party, i personally see no need for any rush to power, in fact my own opinion is formed on the importance of SF to continue prucing stellar performers at council level in order to build up mass momentum rather than rely mainly on protest votes.

  • gendjinn

    Certainly the 3rd largest but they also need to be the primary opposition, not playing second fiddle to FF.

    It’s not about a rush to power, it’s about seizing the tide, sustainable momentum and not letting their opponents up off the mat.

    Two concerns – weeding out the careerists that will compromise for ministerial mercs. Being in gov in the south to stave off a fall back into conflict with Unionism eventually collapses Stormont because they cannot stomach an SF first minister. That is why I’m not sure SF has the luxury of time that you do.

  • mickfealty

    The FG FF thing is a non starter gendjinn. If needed (and they probably will be) it’ll be a Tallagh model only in reverse.

  • gendjinn

    Not on these numbers, not with these leaders and not with the benefit of hindsight. Not a chance in hell.

    There’s a far greater likelihood of a hung Dáil and an immediate GE than a Tallaght strategy. If FF don’t go for minority partner the first time, the second hung Dáil will give them the cover/mandate to go in as junior partner.

  • mickfealty

    Could you tease that one out a bit further for us gendjinn?

  • chrisjones2

    Perhaps he has? How do you know?

  • chrisjones2

    Ok then let them challenge it in court and we will see what happens

    As for ” All this just to ensure the DUP gets its way that “it’s not business as usual” at stormont.” – personally I detest the DUP but there i also the view that “this is just to ensure that the DUP exercises its mandate” as SF would not be slow to do

  • Zeno

    “Honestly, the polls dont bother me one way or another.”

    Oh, did I not see you frequently quote SF’s polling figures when they were in the ascendancy? Now you’re not bovvered. Funny that.

  • eireanne

    Does its mandate involve antagonising 2 national governments by refusing to accept they don’t want suspension? Is the DUP supposed to represent in the Stormont assembly the people that voted DUP? Is it not supposed to co-operate with institutions like the Business Committee? has it been mandated to play a farce of resigning again and again?

  • Fair enough, Mick. But it doesn’t matter what i think, you think, Feeney thinks or the CC thinks – what is needed is evidence. Haven’t seen any of that yet. Not enough to even charge, let alone convict anyone…

  • gendjinn

    1) FF had 81 out of 166 seats. FG will have 45 to 50 out of 165.
    2) There’s no Dukes in FF.
    3) FG lost 4 seats in ’89 and Dukes lost the leadership.
    4) The economic context of 1987 that merited the Tallaght Strategy does not obtain today.

    FF will leap into bed with FG because an immediate second election only helps SF.

  • I tend to agree, eac – but if you think the CC is going to be found guilty of u i in the political process, you are a much more optimistic person than I am…

  • mickfealty

    I disagree. Evidence is what you need to be certain of getting a safe conviction. You don’t need that to form an intelligent view of what was is most likely to have happened.

    I’d add that Gerry’s two narrative model actually gives everyone a licence to go much further and lay out a perfectly co-equal position on what they think happened.

  • mickfealty

    Good points.

    But why would FF go in as a minor partner, when we all know it’s the smaller boy who always gets caned by the electorate? Far better to sit on the outside surely, and pull the ripcord when it suits?

  • Robin Keogh

    MM will not survive as FF leader if the party polls less than 25% …not a chance. A few weeks ago Corbyn was an outsider, now he is leader of Labour. few years ago it was all about smashing Sinn Fein, now they are the biggest party in the country. MM has a far bigger mountain to climb than SF, hence his smeers and deliberate innacuracies. SF need a boost but the long game is the plan and always has been from what i can see. There are no signs of merc hungry Shinners as of yet. And to be honest they are likely to be sniffed out and booted before they get a chance to damage. No, timing is everything, so far so good.

  • Robin Keogh

    Sorry but you are suggesting the ridiculous, unionism has willfully walked itself into a swamp thinking it was being crafty. Nothing SF can do but let them learn from the experience and get back to work.

  • Robin Keogh

    U also dont need evidence to form a paranoid and wholly unjust view.

  • gendjinn

    Why did Labour?

  • gendjinn

    I hope you are correct, if you can keep mercs out you will have longer to execute on that strategy. However, There is a tide in the affairs of men… and events in NI could overtake SF, rendering them unelectable in the south.

  • Robin Keogh

    Nothing will come out of the North to seriously derail SF, every single manufactured crisis has failed to deliver a knock out blow.

  • gendjinn

    What about an unmanufactured crisis? What happens if the Troubles kick off again? Unionism is determined to protect the union, no matter the cost. If that means restarting the Troubles, they will.

    Do not count on tomorrow, for there is only today. That’s why I believe SF have to push to be senior coalition partner in the 33rd because the I fear the wheels are coming off the GFA.

  • Robin Keogh

    The troubles will not kick off again despite the best efforts of Unionism. If they do it will be a battle they lose against Britain and not republicans or nationalists. I honestly believe that we are either entering a time of political wind-down where unionism will eventually get real about power sharing with taigs leading to a final settlement or we are heading into an unmerciful war that will make the troubles look like a drag queen fracas. Mainstream nationalism and republicanism will not fall into any Unionist trap. Recent events prove as much.

  • Roger

    “… next year’s southern General Election…”
    What’s southern about Donegal or Galway? Please.

  • gendjinn

    Robin,

    do you notice the contradictions in your statement?

    “…troubles will not kick off… If they do it will ….” and I paraphrase: “things are winding down or getting even worse”

    Perhaps I’m not reading your intended meaning correctly but as it stands it seems like a large dollop of cognitive dissonance is clouding your reasoning.

    Remember, I’m not a Unionist arguing against you.

  • Robin Keogh

    Sorry u are quite correct that was muddy. I mean you will not see a troubles mark two launched or supported in anyway by nationalists or republicans and the Unionist violence we see, i think is manageable and will slowly calm. However, if it is a case that unionist continued decline leads to sizeable shift to violence my feeling is that fight will be fought against and defeated by the British.

  • gendjinn

    Yes, I agree with that assessment. When I say I am concerned about the possibility of the Troubles kicking off again, I mean that Unionism will light the fire and in a political vacuum republican dissidents will join in. Once the fire starts, it is always unpredictable and tends towards conflagration.

  • Robin Keogh

    Yes that always a danger but i sense Unionist anger spreading and growing with things relatively calm on the other side of the fence. The governments have to step in because mainstream republicanism cannot get involved in a violent confrontation not just because it affects how voters might respond but because it risks losing thousands of members and activists like myself. The Shinner ship is steady despite the battering storms around it, and while i dont see any revolution catapulting SF to some spectacular victory, membership numbers are still rising rapidly, therein lies the future.

  • Jack Stone

    Did you really just say that you don’t need evidence to form an intelligent view of what happened? So baseless conjecture is what you are going with? I mean even the PSNI said that there was no evidence that it was ordered from the command structure of the IRA. It certainly is a view but you would need to explain to me how one could consider it intelligent because intelligence without evidence sounds like ignorance.

  • Acrobat_747

    What about Cavan? Why not mention Cavan. Always the way. Nobody ever mentions Cavan when making a point. Pure and utter discrimination.

  • Robin Keogh

    Don’t go there honestly…trust me…you will end up with an unmerciful headache.

  • Thomas Girvan

    Yes, Gerry Fitt.
    That brings back memories.
    I recall Gerry standing at the top of the stairs holding back a mob of fascists intent on arson and murder.
    I remember the scene in his house after it was burnt out.
    It is ironic that Gerry Fitt was a socialist who gained a lot of votes from Unionists.
    Yes you are right Danny Morrison, they are dealing with Gerry Adams not Gerry Fitt.
    Mores the pity.

  • gendjinn

    I think you’ve just called out a very good reason why the establishment parties would not step in. Never underestimate the petty self-interest of individual politicians eagerly trumping the common good – there are far too many examples in history.

    It was bombs in the financial district of London and dreams of legacy that brought Blair to the negotiating table. The Tories have no interest in securing Blair’s legacy and no fear of a bombing campaign in Britain. FF, FG and LAB in the south don’t care if people die in the north if it removes the threat of SF. Remember how Bruton damaged the peace process.

    It’s good to see SF going from strength to strength in the south and the sooner they can start dictating policy there, the better it will be for the majority.

  • mickfealty

    Excellent question. (Although this would be a great conversation for the actual polling thread.)

    My view is that it was Labour’s old guard desperate for power before they left politics. Had they stayed out FF would be on its way to extinction, FG would have had a much harder time keeping everyone in order, and they could have pushed on into largest party status, and possibly be the lead party in govt with with rump FF and SF by now.

    FF is in the opposite position. The council elections have helped them regenerate a new cadre of youthful politicians. Why would it blight their future by offering to be the mudguard for the FG show? There will certainly be no pressure from them to do so. They need to bide their time and wait for the optimal opportunity to strike (when they are ready and the govt is most vulnerable).

  • mickfealty

    Most sensible thing you’ve said in some time Robin!! 😉

  • mickfealty

    Now Jack, that’s not at all what I said. I’m saying Gerry’s model for telling the truth posits that there are always at least two truths, and we are free to chose whichever ones we like (even if we are subsequently proven to be wrong).

    Baseless conjecture is what we used to call rank nonsense. My position on this matter matches Brian Feeney’s, which is that the suggestion that the IRA didn’t kill Kevin McGuigan is itself baseless conjecture.

  • babyface finlayson

    Robin
    To call it ‘playing a blinder’ suggests they are making political capital from the difficulties of the DUP. I would prefer if they would put the governing of this place first and rather than sitting back and watching, roll their sleeves up and get in there to fix the problem. For example, what are Sinn Fein doing to help the PSNI investigation? No-one knows the picture on the ground better than they do.

  • chrisjones2

    “mainstream republicanism cannot get involved in a violent confrontation not just because it affects how voters might respond but because it risks losing thousands of members and activists like myself”

    …yet the murders and crime don’t bother you at all? I genuinely do not understand this psychology

  • chrisjones2

    Fascists? They were Shinners weren’t they?

  • chrisjones2

    I will see your Cavan and raise you a Mayo

  • chrisjones2

    “does its mandate involve antagonising 2 national governments ”

    I have no idea but they define that, not us

  • paulgraham7567

    They do, but is aggressive action to prevent/prosecute them worth the danger of waking a sleeping dog?

    There will always be murder and crime, in any society. Do we have an excessive amount of it?

    Is “peace” not the main goal?

    Sometimes there is no right answer, only varying degrees of wrong.

  • Cagey Feck

    I’m confused over the difference in definition between a co-equal position without evidence and baseless conjecture at this point

  • chrisjones2

    If anyone doubts the iron discipline of the movement still exists just listen to Storey today Anyone who can make that man come out with that nonsense in public must be admired

    How utterly humiliating that must feel

    That does sound very “Adams” in its literary allusions

    So the IRA still exists but now its a big pretty butterfly. The only thing is that Butterflies normally only live a day whereas this one has been hanging around for 15 years or so so perhaps its a bit careworn and ropey. Colours faded. Getting on a bit

  • gendjinn

    All of this is true. And yet the siren song of the ministerial car is a temptation career politicians seem powerless to resist. Power is short term but the ministerial pension is forever.

    FF will justify going into coalition as “for the good of the country” and/or “we’re putting party before govt” (a great recent thread). FF will hope that there will be a scandal/point of principle (hahahaha) that they can use to take down the govt. Go into the elections on the message “We did what was right for the country, for the people, we tried to work with FG but you just can’t work with these corrupt/criminal/whatever. Return us with a real mandate and we’ll do it right without them!”

  • eac1968

    Jude, I don’t for one moment think that is at all likely. I just find it strange that it hasn’t been mentioned. Can you imagine what would happen if the head of the met police said, for example, that he knew that sitting MPs were involved in a paedophile ring, but then was unable to charge anyone with a crime?

  • eac1968

    Well, if he has Chris, we need to know why he let him go again, don’t we. Either way, he has questions to answer, surely?

  • chrisjones2

    Well you may have missed Gerrys speeches about things like ‘weaponising’ the equality agenda etc to attack the ‘bastard’ unionists

    Antagonism is sadly part of the game

  • chrisjones2

    I assume the issue is lack of evidence. Can you imagine a witness from the Markets standing up and saying ‘I saw him it was him wot done it’?

  • chrisjones2

    Robin

    Sadly Martin now says not. You are behind the curve on the party line. Another day another spin!

    Its now all terrible for Sinn Fein. They are under attack like never before

    Even worse he now suspects the Securorats were behind both murders to wreck the peace process and damage SF. Hes been thinking deeply about it and wonders.

    Those would be the same Securocrats who set up the process, nurtured and grew it and who presumably employ so many of his current and past comrades and they gently nudge the sheep to keep them in the pen. The Securocrats whose plans rely on a healthy bright eyed bushy tailed SF rather than the old, wizened clapped out rodent it seems destined to become

    Perhaps he just read the Southern Polls today – now down by nearly 25% on share form a few months ago – and was feeling a bit bilious. Because if he tries this line in negotiations the the DUP the talks wont last long.

    Still some of the faihful will believe it, eh Robin

  • eac1968

    “I assume the issue is lack of evidence”

    That’s exactly my point Chris. The CC lacks the evidence to charge anyone. If his evidence is so poor, how come he is allowed to make a public statement that he knows might well bring down the government? I can’t square that circle. Can you?

  • I don’t think I said you needed evidence to form an intelligent view (though come to think of it, it mightn’t be a bad idea actually). I said it doesn’t matter what opinion anyone has – what matters is evidence, proof to support assertions. The CC asserted that (i) the IRA was engaged in totally peaceful activity; and (ii) that the IRA killed Kevin McGuigan. I’d like some evidence on that, plus an explanation of how one can hold two contradictory positions at once. GA wasn’t the one who pressed the button that set PR and MN in a moral tizzie: it was GH.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    The CC tells us he’s not interested in playing politics yet his and Geddes statements have precipitated this unionist circus. If only we lived in a proper democracy where both coppers could be charged for their ill judged (read politically motivated) comments.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Nice that unionism can car crash the executive on conjecture. Why wait for evidence? Sure it’s all a handy wee excuse. Clowns!

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Oh behave babyface! Are you seriously expecting SF to help unionism out of its self imposed quagmire? I can see that conversation playing out….”let me give you a hand Peter” says Marty, “sure, aren’t you a grand fella Marty. Of course I’ll take you up on the offer” says Pete. Wise up!

  • Pasty2012

    “Why has no journalist pointed up the central ‘The IRA is peaceful/The IRA killed Kevin McGuigan’ contradiction in the CC’s statement”.
    That would be because the CC didn’t say that the IRA Killed Kevin McGuigan, indeed he said they Didn’t sanction the Killing. He Did say that the PSNI believed that there some “members or ex-members” of the IRA involved in along with others for their and that they acted for their own gain in some ways.
    Similar to “members or ex-members” of a Unionist Party taking photos of young girls or putting hidden camera in a toilet, they individuals may have been members (or ex-members) when they carried out their actions, (certainly are ex-members now, but the Party Organization did not sanction the acts the individuals did.
    Does that clear that up?

  • babyface finlayson

    Serge I’m on my best behaviour!
    I’m sorry but aren’t they supposed to be partners in government? Aren’t they supposed to be trying to make the whole thing work?
    I take issue with the idea that it is ‘playing a blinder’ to do nothing to resolve the issue and yet claim to be sincere about working together.

  • Zeno

    He Did say that the PSNI believed that there some “members or ex-members”

    I don’t remember him saying “members or ex-members”

    He said……….

    “That said, in the McGuigan murder enquiry the SIO is appropriately following a line of enquiry that has shown connections and cooperation between Action Against Drugs as a group and a number of individuals who are members of the Provisional IRA”

  • Sergiogiorgio

    See above.

  • Zig70

    As we start another week of messing about I’ve changed my mind a bit on the situation. I don’t think the UUP had anything to do with Geddis’ statement, I’ve swung toward the PSNI employer’s in the Tory government. Makes more sense. SF are caught in a right wing trap from the DUP, FG and Tories and the only way out is compromise on welfare reform. If Stormont collapses, the Tories introduce welfare reform. If it goes to talks then the only compromise is to accept welfare reform with some watery caveats which may be rescinded later. FG will be waiting for SF to swallow and berate them for it. SDLP are just looking around for the right knife to put in them. I don’t see they have a decent bargaining chip. If they prolong the negotiations then the DUP can collapse Stormont and they lose anyway.

  • Nevin

    Zig70, I think the directness of DCS Geddes’ explanation caught the powers-that-be on the hop; it certainly left the Unionist parties in the Executive with limited room for manoeuvre. The Chief Constable’s belated intervention read like a damage limitation exercise, gauging by the Secretary of State’s response. The institutions had to be protected so this meant putting a fire-break in place to insulate the leadership of the Provisional Republican movement.

  • mickfealty

    They do hate being in opposition. And with a phosphorescent passion. But even in their reduced condition Fianna Fail also (I think) understand how power works far more acutely than the old Democratic Left veterans.

  • mickfealty

    See my reply to Jack?

  • mickfealty

    That’s fair enough Jude. But even Gerry who, let’s face it, really ought to know whether the IRA did it or not, thinks he could be wrong.

    Personally, I think all the externalities suggest that in fact he is as wrong as he suspects he might be. They certainly had the motive, the means and the opportunity.

  • mickfealty

    You should ask Gerry, he invented the contraption not me.

  • Jack Stone

    “the suggestion that the IRA didn’t kill Kevin McGuigan is itself baseless conjecture.” Well the base would be that the investigation has found that the murder was not sanctioned or directed at a senior level. If evidence comes to light that it was sanctioned at the Brigade level or above then the view that this was a murder by “The IRA” would be intelligent. The PSNI have actually said the contrary. PSNI Det Supt Kevin Geddes said “It is my assessment that Action Against Drugs are a group of individuals who are criminals, violent dissident republicans and former members of the Provisional IRA.” He also said “My assessment is that this is a separate group from the Provisional IRA.” This view is backed up by the fact that after arresting Mr. Storey, No evidence was put at any stage of his arrest or confinement. Perhaps it is politically convenient to try to hang the continuing existence of the IRA like a millstone around the neck (even if the IRA might be involved by aiding and abetting this other group but it is on the PSNI to prove that) but, again in my opinion, I feel that an intelligent view would at least involve some evidence. If a view runs counter to the evidence presented then perhaps that view is less than intelligent. Did I miss a briefing or are we basing “intelligence” on “the dogs in the street”.

  • mickfealty
  • Jack Stone

    So, your evidence is that the PSNI said that the pIRA might have been involved, maybe at some point? Even though in the same breath he said that he wouldnt speculate about what level?

  • Zeno

    Sinn Fein are in a panic. They don’t want a 2015 election (work it out). The panic is there for all to see, when they wheel out Bobby, we haven’t gone away we have gone away Storey and Martin starts talking about a conspiracy, because He’s been thinking……….. lol.

  • Zig70

    Well, if it becomes all about Welfare reform and the IRA side is brushed off by the DUP, I’ll believe my own nonsense that Geddes’ statement was carefully thought out. Will take longer for SF to trust the Tories than for the unionists to trust SF. My guess is SF fear elections north and south in the same year the most

  • gendjinn

    Let’s take Adrian Kavanagh’s seat predictions based on this poll as a basis for discussion: FG 55, FF 30, LAB 14.

    Are you saying that Michael Martin would have his 30 TDs vote for Enda Kenny as Taoiseach of an FG/LAB coalition government and their budget(s)? And that this strategy will pan out as electoral gold for FF?

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Yes, read it again and it makes even less sense the third time around. Show me the proof that Sinn From were complicit in the murder of both persons and I’ll take your and unionisms point. Until you can do that shut up!

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Good stuff, let’s see another Birmingham six, internment etc. After all if the cap fits….

  • Reader

    Because politics is none of his business; whereas the existence and activity of an illegal organisation *is* his business.
    Loads of people in this thread complaining about the police getting involved in politics, whereas what has actually happened is that the police have ignored politics.

  • Nevin

    Zig70, perhaps the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee will arrange a joint ‘uncomfortable conversation’ with the Secretary of State and the Chief Constable. A chronology of the official exchanges post-Geddes’ press conference might be very illuminating. I’d be surprised if the SoS would agree to such an interrogation.

    [Added] The SoS has managed to trip over her laces and the NIO has had to provide ‘clarification’:

    Villiers on BBC: “It is very politically destabilising when a member of a coalition has their chairman arrested on a murder charge.”

    NIO ‏@NIOPressOffice Sep 10
    In her BBC interview, what SofS meant was Mr Storey had been arrested in connection with a murder investigation. He has now been released.

  • mickfealty

    I don’t know how you can confuse those Sergio. You know that Gerry Kelly sits on the Policing Board?

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Where’s the proof Mick…period.

  • mickfealty

    But Gerry’s standard does NOT require proof, it only requires you to hold a position. By Gerry’s rules you can say exactly what suits you until someone else proves otherwise. Which happens frequently.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    I don’t give a monkeys for Gerry’s proof or otherwise Mick. Unionism (collectively) have just torpedo’ed power sharing on a suspicion, not a fact. You can prevaricate until you are blue in the face but this is unionism’s cluster.

  • mickfealty

    I’m with that well known unionist apologist Brian Feeney in believing that the IRA were involved. I don’t know any more than that, and I am not claiming any more knowledge of how it came to be other than the motive seems pretty clear. Old fashioned revenge.

    My ‘belief’ accords with most of the official sources on this. Adams is the only one denying it, and of course he has reason and motive to be doing so since he has considerable interest in pinning the blame for the current crisis elsewhere.

    Put it this way, if the IRA really didn’t do it (as you are trying to suggest) we are all in very, very big trouble.

    I don’t think we are in big big trouble because:

    1, no one seriously believes the RA didn’t do it;

    2 everyone, including the unionists, seem very keen to find a solution to the current impasse.

    It’s customary for Gerry to lie about such things, as he himself concedes in that RTE interview Pete’s just blogged (http://goo.gl/Srjc6v). But I think that at this stage that’s not a very help gambit.

    As Pete notes quite precisely…

    Of course, if he is wrong, again, then the crisis is not contrived, and he will have to explain the relationship between the leadership of the Provisional IRA and that of the other public leadership of his party. But that’s his problem. Not Somebody Else’s…

  • Sergiogiorgio

    At least you have the decency to caveat your “belief”. Thanks for putting words into mouth also – I believe the Provo’s (ex ones anyway) were most likely involved. My issue is proof and the crap espoused by unionism that it gives them the right to collapse the structures. They are standing on a mountain of sand and playing their political school yard games that has and will impact us all. Their antics are shameful.

  • gendjinn

    Belief is fine for your choice in the electoral booth. Proof is required for tearing down the assembly.

    Show me concrete proof of SFs involvement in McGuigan’s murder and I’ll support SF’s expulsion.

    I remember when Widgery told us those murdered on Bloody Sunday were terrorists. I remember when the UK put innocent men, women and children in jail for decades. I remember when Tories told us they would never negotiate with the IRA.

    Belief is fine for children, adults require proof.

  • mickfealty

    At 30 seats, Micheal is gone, and almost immediately post match. But at 35-40 they’d be on an upward trajectory and he’d want to back himself in the following election to build on.

    What is in it for him as junior partner? To render the FG/FF difference meaningless? To be Enda’s bitch? What’s the exit strategy?

  • aquifer

    Unionists are in a difficult position. Closet Tories trying to run a welfare statelet. It must be terrifying. Austerity bites their own, government largesse must also go to nationalists. Strategically they need to maintain a relationship with British people who would as soon see them gone, but tactically they think they should play the orange card to keep their cohesion and a potential for civil disruption, though this paints them as ‘not like us’ to real live brits. It must be so tempting to try to revert to Direct Rule, but what chance of the Brits granting that? And would Directly administered austerity have unionists voting for social democrats of any religion? Without some recognition of political realities there is no strategy, only tactics. But maybe the GFA framework is the settled strategy, and all the rest is just tactics, electoral tactics, for there will always be more elections. Is waiting for the electorate to move a strategy? Not if the electorate is growing greener and Unionism has ceased recruitment.

  • gendjinn

    I didn’t want to open the pandora’s box of leadership changes, so let’s just work with Martin & Kenny as the stand ins for whatever leaders follow. Martin would be going from 20 to 30, Kenny from 76 to 55 – I think Kenny is the one you meant to call out, not Martin.

    Junior partner or reverse Tallaght strategy, FF gets shafted. If they’re going to vote for FG as Taoiseach and vote for his budgets they may as well get ministerial pensions out of it because they will not be escaping the junior partner curse – 1989 demonstrates that.

    What’s the exit strategy?

    That was in my previous comment to you regarding a scandal, faux point of principle on legislation or budget to exit.