Be nice to people on your way up…

Everyone will be watching Nolan Live tonight with bated breath (and popcorn). What will Jonathan Bell say? Will he produce documents and materials that will amount to a de facto ‘smoking gun’?

The SDLP has said that they will table a motion of no confidence in the First Minister on Monday. People before Profit have organised ‘Arlene must go’ rallies for tomorrow and their timing (whilst fluky) is perfect given that people will be presumably reeling from tonight’s interview with Jonathan Bell.

How some parties approach the next few days may now need to be reviewed dependent on what revelations or allegations are levelled tonight. Indeed if they are as explosive as Stephen Nolan has said or there are official documents that contradict what the First Minister has told the public then it makes her position untenable.

When questioned on BBC Evening Extra last night the Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir refused to say that he had confidence in the First Minister.

If that smoking gun is produced then the continuance of Arlene Foster as First Minister will be nothing more than a farce and Sinn Féin should be weary of taking positions that by intent or not support Foster. Likewise it should not be forgotten that Claire Sugden is a member of the Executive and her thoughts on the First Minister are also worth establishing.

The First Minister’s credibility is evaporating by the day.

Its well known that there have been differences between Arlene Foster and Jonathan Bell in the past. It reminds me of that saying

‘Be nice to people on your way up because you’ll meet them on your way down.’

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  • Mirrorballman

    I was going to go and watch the new Star Wars tonight at the flicks but I think I’ll wait until tomorrow now…Tonight’s Nolan Live could be even more explosive..Is Mr Bell the real Rogue One?..

  • ted hagan

    Sinn Fein has been acting like a toothless poodle. No surprise there I suppose.
    I don’t think the opposition has much to crow about either, since they seemed to give the scheme a bye-ball until Nolan bought it up. The alert whistleblower seems almost superfluous to the fact that even when the scheme was eventually found to be faulty, it took weeks to close it down, a delay supported by many of the opposition politicians and which allowed the spike in applications.

  • Granni Trixie

    Some people have been saying ‘Arlene can’t go because the DUP have no replacement’. To that I say so be it – let the public see if they are so impoverished.
    However, I do feel that somebody will emerge to fill the vacuum,somebody always does. And, depending on JB r velations tonight, I would think DUP are thinking already of cutting their loses and some see the development as a personal opportunity.

  • murdockp

    I read this as the DUP have decided they need a patsy and Bell is their choice. It could be possible that not an ounce of truth will be spoken as this is a protect Arlene strategy. Lets hope good journalism prevails.

  • WindowLean

    Or is Bell going to take all the blame to save Foster??

  • ted hagan

    The way he was talking in the excerpt he definitely seemed to be breaking ranks, so I somehow doubt it, and certainly Nolan didn’t give that impression.

  • murdockp

    Hes not breaking ranks, this is a carefully planned fall on your sword to protect Arlene moment, There is nothing these people would not do to preserve power and protect the party.

  • Pigeon Toes

    Whilst I’m prepared to wait on the interview tonight, I can’t help recalling the infamous Peter Robinson interview after the Iris story broke, along with the gulping “it’s been tough” from Paul Priestly at PAC …And why is telling the truth the most difficult thing he’s ever had to do, and why only now?

  • SDLP supporter

    You may be right, but I doubt it. I think you are mis-reading it. I don’t think Jonathan Bell is in the business of giving cover to Arlene Foster.

  • file

    I think it is really funny (as in sad) that we have a shock-jock basically setting the political agenda here with all political parties waiting to see what he has up his sleeve at 10.40pm tonight. Is Nolan our leader now? Do we want to follow where he goes, i.e. shock jocking? And how come there are no leaks from the Nolan Party machine? Events, dear boy, events.

  • Whogetstosay?

    2010 ARLENE FOSTER MLA
    Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment
    “I am conscious that whilst this is a sector that requires significant support, budget levels are finite and cannot be breached.
    Therefore in designing tariffs and determining support levels my Department must consider the costs of renewables…”
    https://www.economy-ni.gov.uk/consultations/consultation-phase-2-renewable-heat-incentive-rhi

    2013 Report to DETI
    “7.5. Conclusions
    In short, if DETI is spending more than 4.2p/kWh, it is not going to be able to afford the 10% target with its assumed budget.
    In that regard, we note that many of the tariffs in this report are above 4.2p.”

    Please note this is in no way buried, IT IS IN THE SUMMARY CONCLUSIONS and is quite clear.

  • billypilgrim1

    I’ve heard rumblings of a history of ill-feeling between Bell and Foster.

    Hard to believe, between two such amiable people.

    Any truth to these rumblings, does anyone know?

  • stewrogers

    To be fair, a TV personality is going to be POTUS come January, so everything is possible….

  • Fidellum

    Daithi, would that final comment apply to your situation ☺?

  • Fidellum

    I’ve heard a story of bullying.

  • Fidellum

    I agree.

  • Dan

    a bloody big con of a scheme, designed to enhance and appease the eco greeny lunacy which grips politics, ends up costing us all a fortune…..and moron politicians here scrambling to cover their arses, when they should be out the door in disgrace and held in contempt for the damage they cause.

  • babyface finlayson

    Yes it was odd listening to him on the radio this morning with Mike Nesbitt. To hear Nesbitt complain that Nolan was ‘teasing us’ when he (Nolan)already knows what the story is, seemed odd to say the least
    It may be a good story but he seemed to be putting viewing figures ahead of the public interest, even if only for a few hours.

  • Ciaran Caughey

    Will every penny of the money be recovered? Everyone involved should be jailed for fraud!

  • WindowLean

    Yes, I think if there were anything truly earth shattering in this interview then either Nolan couldn’t resist telling us this morning or it would have leaked by now.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    It’s all getting a bit tasty.

  • Granni Trixie

    V Interestimg that:
    1. Our wee country was on the main bbc news tonight over this scandal
    2. That Arlene agreed to be interviewed on Nolan TV without seeing Bell s account shown earlier.

  • Gopher

    This is were I think Nolan and the BBC made a mistake, the Bell interview should have gone out immediately. Giving someone with a backup staff that amount of time to prepare for an interview is/was a mistake. The main thing I got is the serious disconnect Foster has with the consequence of the scheme other than trying save herself. The fundamental fact remains it was on her watch this happened. She has to go.

  • On the fence!

    I thought her attempt to play the “Bell the misogynist” card smacked of extreme desperation. Then made all the more hypocritical by having that nice Mr Brimstone at her side during the meeting in question!

  • Lorcs1

    Character assassination 101.

  • AntrimGael

    My money is on a big diversion story breaking to take the heat off Arlene and the DUP. The securocrats will ensure that minds are quickly taken off this. Possibly a large ‘explosives/arms’ find, a round up of and/or ‘dissident’ scare stories or such and such a Shinner is a British agent rhubarb rhubarb!

  • AntrimGael

    Agreed but she won’t. If Nelson McCausland can stay in office after BBC Spotlight and a Stormont committee highlighted his ‘behaviour’ then Arlene can sleep soundly. It’s the way politics here works.

  • Blade Sprinter

    While 400 million quid doesn’t appear to be too much to sweat in the north, I suspect people in England, Scotland and Wales might think that there are better ways to spend 400 million quid than letting the Irish burn it.

    This might be one of those oops moments where everyone in Britain suddenly realizes that they are pissing away 10 billion quid a year on the north. The six counties might be shown the door.

  • Gopher

    I’m not so sure personally with the amounts involved and the coincidence that there was absolutely no oversight suggest we need to know who stood to gain by the scheme. The manufacturing defence for delay is simmilair to the tactic the American defense industry uses to avoid cancellation of projects so I was not really taken in by that excuse.. Another interesting thing is Peter has surfaced in the narrative.

  • Blade Sprinter

    “…Peter has surfaced…”

    Oh do tell!

  • Blade Sprinter

    If your opponent has an incompetent or wounded leader, why would you agitate to have them replaced?

  • Eugene Mcdonnell

    It was obvious who was lying and who the truth teller was. Arlene admits there was a row in her offices, and suggests the named spads were there, yet the spads in question deny they witnessed a row. They need to get their stories straight for a start if their lies are going to be believed. Too late now.

    Isn’t it refreshing to see a politician (bell) coming clean and going against the tide of the party and actually being HONEST! I’ve no doubt bell’s character assassination will begin in earnest from those within the DUP, but at least he can hold his head up and lay the blame squarely where it should be laid: at arlene’s (and her spads’) door. Well done mr bell, the truth will out and he will undoubtedly be vindicated.

  • AntrimGael

    Why will this one be any different to Red Sky/Nama/Charter 21/NI Events fiascos etc? The rest of these blew over or have been so drawn out that nothing will ever happen. It’s the Norn Iron way. If Arlene resigns I will eat not only my hat but the hat of the Irish/Scots/Welsh Guardsman with the biggest head.

  • jm

    I think he knew he was being lined up to take one for the team as a way of stopping the story, if it really did refuse to go away and he didn’t fancy that. His ego told him Arlene fucked up first and why should he shoulder the blame? His ego also told him he could take her down with him. Her strategy remains un changed – accept no responsibility.
    The praying in front of the rolling camera was a lovely touch as was Arlene, Im scared of alpha males when they throw their ‘bulk’ around. Don’t they fill you full of proud for our wee country.

  • Granni Trixie

    This one is different because of the sheer amount of waste – to be paid for going into the future – which has captured the public’s imagination.
    If Arlene stays she will be a lame duck leader. Nothing can make up for her coming across as someone who will not pit her hands up but blames others. And bear in mind that she was the
    Centrepiece of the Dup election campaign – damage her and you damage the image of the DUP. I think that even the DUP and their voters must see that she does not now serve them well especially when the next el chin could message aroUnd. Can’t see how she can recover from this one.

    I also can’t see SF heartlands doing their usual and falling in line with SF stance on this which is to help DUP have a soft fall.

    No, this scandal is a game changer.

  • Zorin001

    The kids today have a saying which I think sums it up well Granni: Sh*t just got real

  • Zorin001

    Thats what I was expecting too, what I wasn’t expecting was for Bell to pull a political Michael Corleone on Arlene

  • On the fence!

    Bulk????

    I’ve been nearby when Mr Bell was shuffling in to his VIP seat at Ravenhill on several occasions, and to be honest, you wouldn’t see him in your road. I’d say there’s gae near as much of Arlene as there is of him.

    She’ll need to do better than that!!!!!

  • On the fence!

    I made a point of watching last night, much as I detest Nolan and his
    supposed status, and I do think that Bell was genuinely telling the
    truth.

    The only thing that really bothers me is, why now?

  • Gopher

    Go down your High Street every offer in every shop will have terms and conditions for their sales. Go to the Bookies which operate basically the same open ended model as the RHI scheme. The Bookies have limits on total payout, every bonus they offer has a cash limit, its not rocket science nor hindsight. In the the 21st century everybody covers themselves with T&C’s. In the case of RHI the T&C’s have not been implemented to protect the provider but the end user. This suggests to me that this ommision is wilful not incompetence. I believe now for clarity every one who availed themselves of the scheme needs to be put in the public domain from manufacturers to the legal firms and the end users.

  • npbinni

    Jonathan’s quite the storyteller.

    When you invoke your wife, your children, Ian Paisley (3 times), God, jetlag and sick children in hospital more than a year after you should have done something about a serious situation, it all smacks, sadly, of someone trying to deflect blame onto someone else.

  • Granni Trixie

    Sound analysis. Would add that Bells praying was only ever going to have appeal to a certain element of DUP supporter or public. To people (such as myself it was a turn off, taking away from sincerity levels).

    I regard more seriously Arlenes attempts to characterise Bell as intimidatory in his professional dealings. If untrue, thats vile plus disnshe not foresee that it leaves hers of open to criticism for tolerating such a culture especially as regards women. If I were Bell I would challenge her to provide evidence (Sammy Wilsons impressions to support her don’t count).
    Seems that DUP are modelling themselves on how SF Tend to deal with those who step out of line….label them as having a drinking or mental health problem though in this case it is to assassinate a character by labelling him as a bully.

  • Granni Trixie

    Surely it’s because it has clarified that he was going to take one for the team whether he wants to or not, to him, scapegoating,

  • Granni Trixie

    Well put. I’ll remember that expression for future use.

  • Gopher

    This is why those that benefited from the spike need published, I believe you will find a diaspora with regards that. Lets look at the full spectrum of the spike. The poiltical response has been nothing short of incompetent given the magnitude of the taxpayers loss to the benefit of a few “lucky” people

  • Granni Trixie

    One on either side. (Foster and Bell).

  • On the fence!

    Sorry I don’t see that anybody especially had to take it on themselves. This is Northern Ireland after all, if they’d all closed ranks and sat tight I imagine they’d all have ultimately got away with it because that’s just how things are over here.

    His story is that his conscience got the better of him basically, but I’ll bet his conscience has sucked up a brave amount of other stuff before now.

    Breaking point, ……………or something less noble?

  • jm

    Agreed! But our first minster is a better political player than him. Her deflection of blame will beat his every time. She’s staying where she is and he goes and any tarnish to her reputation will be rubbed out in due course. Devolved government in Northern Ireland means never having to be accountable.

  • Zorin001

    In other you couldn’t make it up headlines:

    Sammy Wilson has told the Nolan Show he “would not have invoked God” in any dispute with the Democratic Unionist Party.

    The DUP have been doing nothing but dragging God into the political process since its very creation.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Not even registering on the mainland. Our wee province and the clowns that think they run it are a national joke. We count for nought.

  • Tochais Siorai

    For God’s Sake, THINK OF THE CHILDREN.

  • On the fence!

    Some of the biggest scoundrels I’ve ever had dealings with have hid their true self behind a bible.

    So while I actually am a believer myself, Mr Bells display before and references during his interview, done nothing to convince me “per se” of his bona fides.

    At best it was overplayed, at worst…………….???????

  • SDLP supporter

    So Jonathan Bell quotes old Paisley as saying that ‘tell the truth even though the heavens fall’? I doubt that the Reavey family for one would believe that. Paisley Senior was a narcissistic monster who lied repeatedly throughout his career.

  • grumpy oul man

    I thought the prayer bit at the beginning was strange.
    Seemed like a attempt to get the DUP fundies on his side, ditto the repeated invoking of Ian senior as his role model.
    Big Ian was (as pointed put by SDLP supporter) was more than cabable of vicious lies when it suited him but strangly Bell quoted him as his inspiration to be be truthful, makes you wonder who the target audience is.
    Does anybody know if the DUP still makes its MLAs deposit money with the party to ensure good behaviour?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “Seems that DUP are modelling themselves on how SF”, same as it ever was, “Models and Mirrors”…..

  • Granni Trixie

    cant agree with you that if not for bells intervention they might otherwise ‘get away with it’. Brand Arlene-DUP is seriously damaged. Difficult to repair as the case will keep coming up as long as they public are reminded how much that the heating scheme is costing the public purse.

  • Cosmo

    Aside from the motives of the Ministers involved….
    1..Does anyone know the names of the ( Firm?) Consultants who advised on setting up the Scheme?
    2. Who were the senior, and indeed junior, Civil servants and Legal experts involved in establishing and running this scheme?
    ( seems to me they are either dimly unquestioning, or have the professional ‘ethics’ of Goldman Sachs).
    3. What official protection and recognition is going to be given to the whistle- blower?

  • Whogetstosay?

    CEPA were the advisors.
    Their 2013 report concluded quite clearly.
    “7.5. Conclusions
    In short, if DETI is spending more than 4.2p/kWh, it is not going to be able to afford the 10% target with its assumed budget.
    In that regard, we note that many of the tariffs in this report are above 4.2p.”

  • Cosmo

    thanks.
    in your view does this statement clearly point out the actual (environmental) absurdity of the scheme

  • Whogetstosay?

    actually a very entertaining read here in the enquiry :
    http://data.niassembly.gov.uk/HansardXml/committee-19139.pdf

    Alison Clydesdale said she did raise the problems, then its lets all play musical chairs, and change departments.
    My read of it is, there is so much shuffling about of positions and departments that things got missed.

    Andrew McCormick:
    “First of all, I will introduce my colleagues.
    Alison has been with us …since May and is just leaving us to go to another Department on promotion.
    [He doesn’t say she WAS there during the setting up of the scheme, though it comes out later on]
    The energy director between June 2010 and December 2013 was Fiona Hepper.
    [Now in Education – One can only hope she overspends 400M there]
    John Mills replaced her and took up post in January 2014. He stayed until the reorganisation and moved to
    DAERA in May this year{2016}.
    We then reorganised the directorate at that point.
    At..deputy secretary level — the officer responsible was David Thomson between January 2010 and the end of June 2014, when he retired.
    [anyone retiring just before shit hits the fan has to be worth an eyebrow raise]
    The permanent secretary concerned in that period was David Sterling.
    Again, David moved to DFP also in June 2014, which is when I arrived. I took up position on 1 July 2014.
    There was a month’s gap between David Thomson leaving and Chris Stewart arriving.
    So, from August 2014 onwards, Chris was, and is, the grade 3 responsible for all these issues.

    Whether by accident or design, seemed just as the problems were becoming bad almost everyone was changed.
    But – problems were clear from CEPA 2011 initial recommendations.

  • Whogetstosay?

    No, not really, they do consider “other factors”, and its clearly an advisory document rather than any decision. But their initial 2011 recommendation was for lower Tariff. It was DETI under Arlene who went back to them and asked for a revision when they increased them.

  • Whogetstosay?

    Is it of any interest that people who have moved on from the body over seeing RHI scheme that benefits wood chip producers are now overseeing grants for renewable forestry that same producers may benefit from?

  • Cosmo

    thanks….doyou mean DETI went back and asked for report revision, when DETI increased the tariff?. just to clarify for me.

  • Katyusha

    In that regard, we note that many of the tariffs in this report are above 4.2p.

    I imagine this is an academic way of expressing their incredulity at the scheme. Or to translate, “We’ve had a look at the figures and we seriously can’t believe what we’re reading.”

  • Cosmo

    ie: this opens the possibility of public servants, being put in a position to ‘be on the take’?

  • Whogetstosay?

    http://www.cepa.co.uk/publication-deti-renewable-heat-incentive?txtSearch1=phase

    2 reports.
    “Final Report” and the one after it.

    Cepa site has lots of good stuff on it.

    Ricardo aea is the other linked consultancy.

  • Cosmo

    thanks, appreciated.

  • whatif1984true

    People have got away with murder. You need to ask why money is now more important than lives.