Robinson: “those who refuse to leave it behind [must be] dealt with by the PSNI and other agencies”.

First Minister Peter Robinson has a piece in today’s Belfast Telegraph, which pretty much I suspect outlines what’s coming next:

There are some politicians who believe that it taints the democratic process for politicians to engage in such transitional support activities.

I can respect that view but in real life that stance ensures nothing changes and the problem of the existence of paramilitary groups remains for another generation.

If we are to truly seize the opportunity before us we must collectively ensure that paramilitary activity is a thing of the past and those who refuse to leave it behind are dealt with by the PSNI and other agencies.

For the DUP to reconsider its present ministerial protest we need a report that categorically determines there is no organisational sanction for terrorist or criminal activity.

There has been some common ground in the talks about the shape and direction of steps to deal with the legacy of paramilitaries.[Emphasis added]

That’s an assessment which rather deftly lines up with what the PSNI have already said (before Robinson led his political troops out of Stormont). So, back to the Future then?

The elephant in the room though the persistent (and pervasive) doubts that in practice everyone really are equal equal before the law.

Robinson’s answer appears to be to try and kill it with a ray of unremitting positivity:

As we move through the gears in the next week or so we need to remember that we are working to save the process. Without a resolution of the outstanding issues the Assembly does not have a future. For my part I am determined to do all in my power to reach a successful conclusion – one that will ultimately cement the progress we have made over the last decade.

I firmly believe that the best interests of Northern Ireland are served by having our own local government making decisions that contribute to a stronger, more successfully country.

We have much to be proud of but now is the time to seize the moment and work to finish the job of moving our society from the difficult and devastating years of troubles and misery to a confident, prosperous, tolerant society offering hope and opportunity.

As I have argued before, narrative is not just what you say, it also constructed from what you do and what you achieve in your endeavours. The primary weakness in the Battle a Day narrative which dominates the OFMdFM duo, lies in their joint inability to deliver tangible goods.

That, and the reluctance of either party, but with regard to the ongoing effects of paramilitarism, Sinn Fein in particular, to make themselves publicly accountable.

  • Zeno

    We are regularly spoon fed these type of positive speeches by the DUP and Sein Fein but they always end up as just empty words. My money is on them reverting to eye poking and goading each other as soon as they are back in the well feathered nest together. That is how they get elected, but every point they score against each other is a loss for the rest of us.
    The electorate are slow to catch on but they are gradually realising that they are being conned.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Thanks Zeno, and as Emma Goldman said just over a century ago:

    “The average mind is slow in grasping a truth, but when the most thoroughly organized, centralized institution, maintained at an excessive national expense, has proven a complete social failure, the dullest must begin to question its right to exist.”

    Its taking a while to sink in, but we might just get there someday…….

  • Mary Anna Quigley

    Most dysfunctional people in NI DUP ( DROP YOUR PANTS ) again and again PSF ( UNTRUSTWORTHY RUTHLESSNESS) NI. What needs to happen is pull the house of horror down. Educate people that sectarian bigots &evil murders Mafia life style is not the way forward.

  • Concubhar O Liathain

    Wouldn’t Peter Robinson and his party have been better off to leave this issue as a matter for the PSNI and carry on with business as usual in the first place without the amateur dramatics and faux concern over the death of someone whose killing they would have previously applauded?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Trying to be devil’s advocate here, suppose someone was killed in the Shankill by loyalists, the chief constable said the organisation was linked to the Protestant Action force who were connected to the DUP or possibly former DUP members and the 6 nationalist MLAs for West Belfast, and the two main Nationalist parties carried on like it was business as usual. Wouldn’t dissidents jump on that as a means of attacking the partnerships constitutional nationalism engages with?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Mick, junior doctors are probably going to face a battle or indeed several battles a day at work, every day from now on, maybe we should adjust the analytical narrative here?

  • Concubhar O Liathain

    I think the dissidents need no excuse/provocation to do what they do. It’s pointless setting our stall on what they may or may not think. They left a bomb on our street last week which could have killed or maimed a young person on their way to school with little thought to the possible consequences.

  • Greenflag 2

    Never mind what they say watch instead what they actually do -including the recent amateur dramatics and the evasions of public accountability.

    And what they have they done ? actually accomplished ? Other than an uncertain peace which is presumably to most sluggers an improvement on what they achieved 1974 to 1998 not a whole lot apart from keeping a lid on the

    Given the changing demographic and economic background whats in the best interest of Northern Ireland may not be in the best interest interest of Unionism . A collapse of the Assembly could however buy unionism more time to save itself from itself . Remembrance of the wasted quarter century 1974 -1998 should be a reminder to ALL the politicians that their failure to govern/work the GFA can have consequences far beyond what one assumes any of them might care to see . Back to the future past imperfect then ?

  • Zeno

    If only the truth was a little prettier.
    The truth is there is no danger to the Union and no indication that a United Ireland is on the way any time soon. The truth is the biggest danger to the Union comes from the Unionists and the biggest hindrance to UI is SF. It the truth gets out they will all be obsolete.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    In a word – yes. They would.

    This is about the usual unionist thing of being seen to be doing something even when you are powerless to do anything. The problem this time is that it backfired. Back in the day it was okay to crash/suspend the assembly, but now people have higher expectations of our elected politicians.

    A lot of the credit for this goes to the Conservatives for not blinking ..

  • ted hagan

    From someone living outside Northern Ireland but who was brought up in it for 40 years, within the unionist community, and with whom I have much respect; I would say this. The UK is disintegrating, Just look at Scotland;Northern Ireland would suffer to a huge degree if it left the EU; l. Every one knows which way the wind is blowing. Deprived loyalists stand to make a fortune from a united Ireland, through tourism,through investment, through good will, through their votes. Much more so than the status quo. Sinn Fein knows this and i think, with the right leadership, the loyalists could also carve out a brilliant deal for themselves. Use your heads, folks. I know you fear that this would seem triumphalist from the nationalist side. Who cares?

  • Thomas Barber

    I would have to agree with Zeno Ted on his no chance of a United Ireland any time soon comment. Take a walk through the Gaeltacht quarter and say hello to everyone you meet you’ll be surprised at how many foreigners actually live there and they are all British citizens therefore British votes. Turkeys dont vote for Christmas and Chinese, African, Indian, Pakistani and whatever British citizens from Britain’s colonial past certainly wont be voting for a united Ireland in any future referendum else they get deported as illegals..

  • Zig70

    The current political standpoint is actually a real insult to those within society that are leaders in their community and not paramilitary thugs. Save us from the DUP with their red berets.

  • chrisjones2

    “save the process”

    Awwww …poor process!!

  • chrisjones2

    ….and your point is what exactly? The number of VEMs in Northern ireland is still quite low by EU stanhdards

    “the Gaeltacht quarter” is also a myth. A sponge for funding but almost no one speaks Irish beyond understanding what An Lar means on a Dublin bus

  • chrisjones2

    “Educate people” I agree but who will do that? The Mafia and their associates (on all sides) are embedded in the Governmnet

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I can only agree fully, Zeno. I remember going along Ormeau Road some years back and at a glance seeing under the Party Office shop header for SF the words “we all deserve better”. On my return trip I noticed that these words were on a poster in the window placed unfortunately to give the subliminal impression “Sinn Féin, we all deserve better”.

    Of course I’ve commented recently on the negative subliminal messages on other posters, such as the habit of the block of colour with the party name at the foot of election poster being given an angled drop (left high to right low) which gives the clear message of a decline. The truth is out there, clearly if subliminally displayed. But its when it becomes overt that we can really expect something to happen. We (even if its just we two) certainly all deserve better than most of our major parties here.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Whether they’re “pro-peace” or “anti-peace” I would put the killers of McGuigan and Davison in the same boat.

    We shouldn’t ignore the fact that critics of the post Hume-Adams Sinn Féin and post Hume-Adams SDLP include many who would call themselves Irish nationalist or republican:

    To quote Gary Donnelly from the most “nationalist” council here…

    “Bodies in the street and high-profile arrests are optics to deflect the electorate from substantive political issues. I have no doubt Stormont will be back soon and will continue to yield a political dividend for the British government,”

    http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/sep/13/kevin-mcguigan-death-assassin-belfast-political-strife

    It is something that could be spoken verbatim by someone like Jim Allister or David McNarry, but the likes of the IRSP and Éírígí don’t have the profile here.

    If Gary Donnelly accuses the nationalist parties of benign almost sectarian apathy towards deaths of Protestants too, it would strike a nerve with some.

  • Pasty2012

    Well Done Tom in counting all those votes like that. “Chinese, African, Indian, Pakistani and whatever British citizens from Britain’s colonial past certainly wont be voting for a united Ireland” – Really, people ruled over and made slaves by the British will always vote for their Masters, sounds like what you are saying there. But you seem to have missed the Scottish Referendum and the numbers of people from other lands who were speaking up for Scottish Freedom and Independence. Guessing those “British Citizens” forgot who was so good to them when speaking up for Scottish Independence and most likely voting for what they were campaigning for.
    Maybe those people from other lands may also see that it’s better to be part of one Country here to and in charge of your destiny with the added bonus of being part of Europe.