“this is a power for which the Scots have been craving…”

So David touched on an intriguing ‘argument’ between Sinn Fein and the SDLP over the former’s use of the Legislative Consent Motion in such a way as to nullify any discussion of the proposed bill (an indigenous deal let us remember) at Assembly and in Westminster.

This is effectively a measure constructed in OFMdFM and sent straight via DSD, to an Order in Council in Westminster and presumably on to the Queen for approval. Beyond the two parties in Stormont Castle, it will receive no secondary scrutiny.

So far so good. Then watching Stormont Today last night, Professor Rick Wilford crystalised an niggling doubt I’ve had since Tuesday evening when he pointed out that OFMdFM has effectively handed back power over Welfare to Westminster.

Of course, not for good. It is due to return in December next year once the Tories have implemented a deal which to all intents and purposes has been jointly structured by Sinn Fein and the DUP.

Along with tampering with Standing Orders so that there could be no vote in Stormont, it appears to be something of an a priori forensic clean up so that no one can look back at the record and figure that Sinn Fein had anything to do with this deal.

Pretty cynical you might say to even think that? But I’m struggling to get an answer out of anyone in Sinn Fein that would suggest anything different. It’s odd behaviour for a party still committed to abstentionism at Westminster, and to bringing power back to the island.

Except that is, perhaps, when to take such responsibility so might do damage to them politically? It’s hardly surprising that the SDLP wants to make an issue of this one. Clear, green, water.

  • Robin Keogh

    Probably best to leave the tories do what they do well.

  • hugh mccloy

    Spoken like a true republican , will you be out next year remembering 1916 and the people who fought and died to take legislative powers out of Westminster’s hands ? In a 100 years time it will be recorded SF handed legislative powers back to Westminster

  • Ulick

    “it’s hardly surprising that the SDLP wants to make an issue of this one”

    No it’s not surprising that that they **want** to make an issue of it. Neither is it surprising that despite their best efforts (coordinated message across all media) that they haven’t been able to do so — perhaps because the vast majority recognise that the alternative was to hand back all powers via ‘Direct Rule’.

    I’m struggling to get an answer out of anyone in the SDLP that would suggest anything different.

  • hugh mccloy

    The ardchomhairle ratified the fresh start

  • Reader

    Ulick: perhaps because the vast majority recognise that the alternative was to hand back all powers via ‘Direct Rule’.
    The *other* alternative would be to implement the changes locally. Looks like SF can’t handle this devolution business.

  • Redstar

    Must make Shinners proud washing their hands of the most vulnerable and passing their welfare fate over to the Tories. True Irish Republicans

  • Ulick

    Is that what the SDLP wanted to do? Haven’t heard any of them say that.

  • Robin Keogh

    In a hundred years time it wont matter as westminister will have power over just england and possibly wales.

  • Robin Keogh

    Handing power over? Who are u trying to kid?

  • Redstar

    Lol

    So the Shinners cry now is ” Victory 2115!!!!”

  • mickfealty

    It’s not their deal to sell though…

  • Robin Keogh

    It isent about being victorious over anybody, its about agreement and accomodation with your 900k neighbours who dont share your jurassic views on Irish Republicanism

  • Redstar

    Some of us oldies remember when the Shinners were considered radicals, revolutionaries even, and certainly staunch socialists on the side of the less well off in our society.

    How times change ( though maybe not that long ago with Kearney only last month stating the welfare cuts were a red line)

    Now firmly part of the establishment and happy not only to have Tory policies implemented but with Corp Tax – give millions to the corporates and HOPE they might set up a few min wage call centres-even adopting such approaches- these sure are different times.

    Good luck to the likes of PBP both North and South as the only remaining voices for the less fortunate

  • barnshee

    Handing over power to the Tories -so that they don`t have to hand over power to the Tories Only SF could square that circle

  • SDLP supporter

    Was discussing this morning with an acquaintance, not a friend, who I am certain doesn’t vote SDLP. He spat out the words: “Principled Leadership? Gutless curs.” He wasn’t referring to the SDLP!!

  • Redstar

    No guts and certainly no principles certainly sums them up. I love the latest definition of “SF” as Stoop Further!!

    Only the career politicians of SF could make Alex Attwood look like a “class warrior” in comparison!!!

  • gendjinn

    Oh great. Mick is now going to spend the next few months telling us that SF are hypocrites for “implementing” the policies of the party he votes for.

  • Reader

    Ulick, I’ve no idea how the SDLP wanted to handle the situation. I just wanted to point out that carrying on with devolved government in all areas was the third option you hadn’t considered.

  • Ulick

    Welfare cuts are Tory policy Reader, not SF. As such not an option.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    perhaps because the vast majority recognise that the alternative was to hand back all powers via ‘Direct Rule’.

    No, there have been plenty of alternatives. Several of us have spent the past three years – that is how long this has been going on for – trying to explain to Sinn Féin’s automatons here and elsewhere that there was no alternative but to implement the welfare reform measures and that the package that had been negotiated was the best on offer. In response, we were told that we were shafting the poor and bending the knee to the Tories.

    And now, not only are SF bending the knee to the Tories, but they are handing the power to them to go ahead and do it. In addition to this, the Tories have been handed the powers to implement further cuts over and above those that were already agreed. The proposed cuts to the benefit cap will almost certainly be pushed through using this mechanism.

    The original welfare bill, introduced last March, could have been reintroduced and pushed through using accelerated passage and emergency sittings of the assembly. That would at least have preserved the status of our devolved government.

    Is this what’s going to happen if SF end up in government in the other jurisdiction in Ireland next year ? They’ll phone up the Brits and ask them to come back over and make the tough decisions they don’t want to make themselves ?

  • Catcher in the Rye

    Nobody is disputing that the cuts are Tory policy. I think we’re more concerned that people calling themselves Irish republicans are involved in granting authority to the Queen to make legislation in (part of) Ireland.

  • Redstar

    Couldn’t agree more Catcher- but of course the SF sheep and the Career politicians they elect are no longer concerned with such issues

  • Reader

    They could try to manage a budget. What are they going to do when the powers come back to Stormont in a couple of years – let the DUP take all the departments?

  • Catcher in the Rye

    If they were thinking strategically this would actually be a pretty good idea.

  • barnshee

    900k neighbours who dont share your jurassic views on Irish Republicanism

    And who don`t regard you as “neighbours”

  • New Yorker

    Are they going to hand back their salaries back to London since they are not doing what they are paid to do?

  • Croiteir

    Washing there hands of responsibility – out damned spot

  • mickfealty

    “The party he votes for..”?

  • Reader

    Catcher, that strategy is only conceivably a good one if everything is seen from a southern perspective.
    I think everything I have seen in the last 2 years suggests that SF is not preparing for a United Ireland, or even for further devolution. The 26 county project dominates everything.

  • redbabylon

    Sinn Féin killed the welfare reform bill in its entirety. They didn’t need to make another move. Cameron made it clear that welfare was a matter for Stormont. If anyone objected, then they would be undemocratic. Those who did object were Sinn Féin who within only one week of killing the pesky bill, gave its support to the accelerated passage of the fantasy budget. The budget that Villiers brought to the HoC last evening. Sinn Féin rejected over 50 amendments to the welfare bill, proposed by the SDLP and the Greens.

    There’s lots of new workfare contracts on the way. Sinn Féin are excellent job facilitators just like Emma Harrison. There’s also lots of contracts for assessing the sick & disabled. I’m sure Gerry has already spoken to Maximus about this.

    Why is anyone still surprised that the pro-enterprise Sinn Féin are Tories?

  • Kevin Breslin

    The Social Security department with an SDLP minister Under Atwood and Ritchie before him did implement welfare reform locally. But that welfare reform was a drop in the pond in comparison.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    Indeed. But what is the 26 county project ?

    Handing welfare powers back to Westminster is a serious admission that the party is unwilling to govern. I know why SF did it – they didn’t want to be seen traipsing through the lobbies up at Stormont to vote in a welfare bill – but the parties in the RoI will tell voters there that they can’t afford to elect a party that abdicates when the situation gets tough.

  • Gingray

    And that should be the SDLPs campaign right there.

  • Gingray

    Really Robin?

    As in Irish republican I think Sinn Féin have been worse than useless on this. We are part of the UK so central government will make decisions that impact here, but I would prefer it if we implemented it ourselves, rather than relying on a grubby deal put together by SF/FG/DUP/Cons.
    The deal itself is immaterial, it’s the political cowardice that is becoming prominent.

  • Gingray

    Then why not make the compromise and implement it here?

    Are you not getting that for many it’s not the deal – one had to be made – it’s the cowardice. If you are going to make a deal then see it through, don’t give it to England.

  • Gingray

    You don’t view the non unionist portion of Northern Ireland as neighbours?

  • barnshee

    more fifth column than “neighbours”

  • Gingray

    Ah right barnshee
    There is a very small part of me that thinks it would be great if all unionists thought of catholics in the same way you and zeno do, but then reality sets in.

    Most unionists and nationalists and others and non voters are just people wanting to live life without any hassle.

    But glad you view everyone over the 900K protestants as fifth column