Stormont deal now looking likely

Very gradually, the language surrounding the political talks is changing from negative to cautiously constructive, as Noel McAdam’s report shows ..

In the strongest indication the party could return to the Executive, Mrs Foster has said the DUP will respond “positively” to positive developments during the inter-party talks on IRA activity and welfare reform. There may be sticking points over dealing with the past but these are not political deal breakers.

Newton Emerson in the Irish News and at length in the Sunday Times (£) argues that Sinn Fein  are positioning to swallow  the welfare cuts  to allow a restoration of what passes for normality in the Executive.   Direct rule would be worse than accepting welfare cuts which Stormont could blunt, compared to the full monty of Conservative cuts which local politicians would be powerless to affect if Stormont was suspended.

SInn Fein has three reasons to sound the retreat. First, the Irish general election is still more likely to take place early next year and Stormont really does have to wrap up its talks around the same time, to restore some sense of institutional credibility before its own elections next May.

Second, anti-austerity politics is becoming redundant as the southern economy recovers, so Sinn Fein must put down the metaphorical placard and start repositioning itself among the grown-up centre-left. Third, the DUP has made such a spectacle of itself with its resignations over the past four weeks that anything Sinn Fein does will look statesmanlike by comparison — even running backwards from a crisis that everyone knows republicans caused.

Unionists can only admire the special properties of republicanism, somehow combining Teflon and elastic, that permit it to get so cleanly away. But chutzpah at the top and loyalty at the bottom are only part of the explanation. Positive presentation is a significant factor.

Sinn Fein has spent two years cynically wrecking devolution, yet its every statement has been a homily to how much it wants power-sharing to work. The DUP has been desperately trying to make devolution work, yet its every statement has been a lament at how it hates sharing power with Sinn Fein.

Emerson’s analysis may be overly paradoxical or not, but his essential point is gaining ground.   Hopes are rising for a deal by the end of the month unless Enda causes a snap election to wreck the timetable.

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  • Zeno

    “Mrs Foster has said the DUP will respond “positively” to positive developments during the inter-party talks on IRA activity and welfare reform.”

    So to get the DUP back in the Assembly we are going to be told that the PSNI statement on the IRA was nonsense and on top of that SF’s own hokey cokey on welfare reform is back to in. (rather than out or shaking it all about)

  • Mary Anna Quigley

    It is just we houses that pretend politicians play- maybe seen the report preview another stitch up cover up. It is the biggest waste o tax payers money British Stormont.Money power power is money and they love power -control freaks up in the play school Stormont.

  • chrisjones2

    You are utterly wrong

    In play school people learn things and become socialised.

  • hugh mccloy

    Any deal that is to be done has already been done, this is making time for political spin

  • Greenflag 2

    ” even running backwards from a crisis that everyone knows republicans caused.”

    Everyone ? Newton exaggerates . Perhaps everyone other than the DUP resigners believes the DUP caused the crisis? So those who cynically undermine devolution (SF ) want it to work and those (DUP) who resign from the Assembly want it to work but don’t like to share power with those who also want it to work albeit cynically ? Sounds like

    What we have here is a failure to communicate . While that has always been the case between SF and the DUP – it was also the case with the SDLP and UUP . So whats the alternative ?

    It doesn’t get any better than this and hopefully no worse .

  • Kevin Breslin

    Third, the DUP has made such a spectacle of itself with its resignations over the past four weeks that anything Sinn Fein does will look statesmanlike by comparison — even running backwards from a crisis that everyone knows republicans caused.

    Yes Newton, just Imagine all those Sinn Féin-DUP swing voters being disillusioned by this barefaced abstentionism by the DUP and heading back into the Sinn Féin fold who don’t use the same tactic themselves.

    I’m sure Sinn Féin’s going to get its first East Belfast MLA in Niall O’Donnghaile by debunking several electoral dogmas and trends here and simply float in on a wave of the DUP electoral suicide of its anti-statesmanship.

  • Greenflag 2

    Politicians alas live on OPM everywhere . ( Other people’s Money ) If they could’nt or did’nt then politics would be for the independently wealthy and the very rich or aristocratic which is what it used to be in the good old days when KIngs ruled and the peasants starved or were hanged for stealing a loaf of bread .

    Stormont is supposed to be a talking shop without real power other than local matters . The real power and money is not in Stormont or indeed Westminster . It’s in the City of London and Wall St . The ” Robber Barons ” are back minus the chain mail and sword but wielding instead the pen or more likely a keypad as they loot the world to their hearts content while our politicians scramble around for any crumbs that may drop from the high table – powerless to do anything which might upset the City gents and their international financial sector bond holders .

    Same all over the democratic (whats left of it ) world .

  • kensei

    The DUP has been desperately trying to make devolution work, yet its every statement has been a lament at how it hates sharing power with Sinn Fein.

    Sure, if you ignore the DUP systematically going back on its deals with Republicans since St Andrew’s and then crowing about it. Maybe he means they want to make devolution work, but not power sharing? Even though that is impossible.

    I suspect it just means he favours the DUPs right wing agenda, though.

  • Greenflag 2

    Exceptions have been known . I recall a relative’s young child being asked ” How did she like her new teacher” ?

    She’s very nice was the 6 yr olds reply because she does what I tell her .

    There are too many on all sides in NI who would argue with a STOP sign 🙁 Alas that includes a lot of the politicians .

  • Nevin

    “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”

    Greenflag, I thought it was an unwillingness on the part of unionists and nationalists to acknowledge and/or to accommodate the opposing constitutional aspiration. London’s and Dublin’s appeasement of paramilitarism in NI did much to weaken the likes of the UUP and SDLP.

  • Greenflag 2

    ” I thought it was an unwillingness on the part of unionists and nationalists to acknowledge and/or to accommodate the opposing constitutional aspiration”

    Yes Nevin -thats what that means i.e

    “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”

    I don’t believe that it was either London or Dublin that told the DUP to walk out of the Assembly on this occasion or on the many other occasions in recent decades when the Assembly and prior Stormont were suspended /abolished etc for one reason or another .

    What we have is a failure to communicate by the adult elected representatives of the DUP/UUP/SF/SDLP/TUV .

    Given the continuing failure to communicate or tolerate each other then the safest course before it all goes belly up again is DR . I don’t believe either sovereign government is interested in joint authority .

    good to see you are still alive and kicking 😉

  • Thomas Barber

    “Sinn Fein has spent two years cynically wrecking devolution, yet its
    every statement has been a homily to how much it wants power-sharing to
    work”

    Sinn Fein opposing welfare reform is classed as cynically wrecking devolution ! Only a well paid unionist journalist with a unionist agenda would come off with that one perhaps he’ll be telling us next that Sinn Fein is cynically wrecking the imperialist dreams of unionists who feel taking money off the poorest in society in order to finance the destruction of life and property in the Middle East in order to satisfy the greed of Bankers and global corporations is value for money and that we should feel privileged to play our part.

  • Zeno

    “Sinn Fein opposing welfare reform is classed as cynically wrecking devolution !”

    SF are on the verge of accepting welfare reform or austerity as they call it.
    How will you feel about that?

  • Thomas Barber

    You have evidence Sinn Fein is going to accept Welfare reform as demanded by the British government ? And I would feel nothing at all if they did accept welfare reform as long as the quid pro quo was worth it. I would rather they bankrupted the country but theres lots of ways to exploit the British taxpayer as unionist politicians know only too well, they’ve almost a hundred years of experience doing it.

  • Dan

    Seriously, some people are still interested in ‘the talks’ going on at Stormont?

  • Pete

    Northern Ireland already gets the best deal out of the Barnett Formula. I don’t really think we can complain much.

  • Zeno

    “You have evidence Sinn Fein is going to accept Welfare reform as demanded by the British government ?”

    Well they have been doing a Leaders Tour of the North explaining to the faithful that they have to because the alternative is direct rule. It’s not evidence as such, I read it in the papers.

  • Zeno

    And a better deal on welfare than any other region.

  • Thomas Barber

    Obviously your right if unionist politicians can hand out taxpayers money to be burnt on bonfires but the way I see it is, no matter how much money the British pump into this artificial state it will never be enough to compensate the Irish nation for the centuries of occupation and exploitation of the Irish people.

  • Zeno

    What exactly did the “Brits” get out of Ireland? Whatever it was it doesn’t seem like they got a great deal considering the billions and billions they have pumped in and continue to do so.

  • Thomas Barber

    Lets start with who used the Irish people as slaves in the birth of the Empire and how Irish people were starved to death while battalions of Crown soldiers ensured the country’s food supply was exported out of the country to furnish the Empire building. We were never compensated for the loss of our lands but strangely enough lots of British lords and ladies including the ancestors of David Cameron and the likes of Douglas Hurd received millions of pounds in compensation when slavery was abolished I guess some animals are more equal than others in the British kind of democracy.

    They can pump in as much as they like, why shouldn’t they seeing as its them who want to keep a presence in Ireland, they probably dont like the thought of an independent Ireland possibly having close ties with the likes of China or Russia.

  • Sprite

    you have to wonder what Ireland might have become if no one from Britain had ever set foot here. a far flung isle on the western extremity of Europe with few natural resources and a rubbish climate…

    you’re clearly a Monty Python fan, afterall the Romans never did anything for anyone either

  • Sprite

    ROFL

  • ted hagan

    To think, West Germany, with the help of the allies, had recovered from the destruction of the war to become an economic power house. And where is Northern Ireland nearly 20 years after the agreement? Still bickering, hating and squabbling. It’s such a downer. Thank god for the football team.

  • Greenflag 2

    “you have to wonder what Ireland might have become if no one from Britain had ever set foot here.”

    Given that the first people came across from what was Scotland circ 4500 BC and the various other groups /tribes etc who made it across from Britain , France and even Spain in subsequent centuries there might be nobody here at all at all 🙂 The Romans needed Britannia for tin and wheat and to stop the dissident Gauls from using Brittania as a safe haven .
    HIbernia was’nt worth a legion neither for that matter was most of Germania east of the Rhine . No great return on investment ye see . Most of Scotland was also avoided for similar and climatic reasons .

  • Greenflag 2

    Don’t mention Japan and don’t go overboard on the football team . Once in 40 years is wonderful of course but blue moons are not the norm . Ditto for the Republic’s team even if our once in a blue moon is less blue than NI’s

  • murdockp

    Surely if you wanted to set Ireland up for unification you make sure that government expenditure per capita is aligned with the Republic.

    Sinn Fein for me have done more the maintain the union than any other party out there.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    “Thank god for the football team” ! We still squabble over that ! Anyway good luck to the GAWA in France in 2016 ! I’ve told my mates to bring me back some nice French Onions !

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Well, if you really want to know what Ireland might have been like had the Tudor conquest never taken place:

    https://archive.org/details/3754679

    Alice Stopford Green offers the important historical correction of a late medieval Ireland flourishing in its urban centres and in trade, set to take a place alongside such “periphery countries’ as Sweden, before its economy and culture were wrecked by the unscrupulous parvenus of an England still unsated by the land grab following the dissolution of the Monasteries.

    Yes, its interesting to consider what Ireland might have become……..

  • Ian James Parsley

    Some important points, there.

    If either side were serious about building trust, they would carry out previous agreements in full. That includes, for example, an Irish Language Act – not something I feel strongly about in itself, but I do feel strongly that it was agreed and should be delivered upon.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “1984”……..

  • Croiteir

    Just because they beat the Germans?