Arlene Foster triumphant thanks to Sinn Fein. Imagine that!

Arlene won hands down, thanks to Sinn Fein with a little help from the Speaker. True she was always going to win the day as Sinn Fein declined to wield the knife by withdrawing from the Executive on foot of her refusal to step aside, but it was nice for her to be seen to win it too.

She didn’t have to be gracious and by God she wasn’t.  Magnificently alone apart from her DUP chorus she was allowed to make her dignified defence first in a Statement doubtfully in order;  and then  later to cut up rough in answering the Exclusion motion a.k.a. a vote of confidence, jointly sponsored and quite well moved for the SDLP by its young leader Colum Eastwood.

Two bites of the cherry in one day.  What a gift!  It was unique to my knowledge to be able to answer a motion of no confidence before it’s even moved. No wonder all the opposition parties were furious to find they had been swatted aside “ uttering sound and fury , signifying nothing.”  For it was Sinn Fein and only Sinn Fein who mattered all the time.

Arlene wasn’t even defiant, she was contemptuous as she wielded a forensic club – no fancy fencing from her. Her lines grew better and better as she warmed to her theme once she  had disposed  point by point of her former colleague Jonathan Bell’s charges of keeping the RHI scheme going rather than halting it.  On the opposition move to exclude her from office:

“It was nothing short of an attempted coup d’etat but a coup in a Carry On film.”

What we have is trial by television to build my political gallows.(Watch out, BBC NI).

This is a motion designed to fail ( the SDLP/UU motion that is). It reduces politics to a soap opera .. or a TV drama but not a believable one at that”

And some points of substance.

The use of Section 30 of the NI Act 1998 ( designed  to exclude a minister for violating the pledge of office  to use exclusively peaceful means – e.g.. Sinn Fein for IRA activity) was “a  massive overreach “ for allegations which fell far short of the section’s  requirements Arguably, quite right.

“What people want to know is how to reduce costs, not clawback.”

More doubtfully she acquitted herself of failure to set a tariff for the scheme and notice the warning signs of later problems.  “They didn’t appear on my desk, ” as she depicted herself as the unlikely victim of official incompetence. We certainly need to hear a lot more from the traditionally silent civil servants who rely on ministers to defend them, not foist all blame unto them.

The motion was moved without establishing  “ a scintilla of evidence” against her and amounted to “a rush to judgement to question the fitness of the  Assembly public accounts committee’s  investigation into  the handling of the RHI affair. She made much of her willingness to “ break precedent” and appear before them and clearly prefers sticking with the committee investigation to appearing  before a  higher -powered independent judicial inquiry.

If there was any mention of a  “ judge-led  inquiry” I missed it. One for later  –  if at all. Nor did she have a single cross word for the movers of the long amendment that wasn’t from the nemesis that wasn’t- Sinn Fein. Did she know something we didn’t?

She was never going to lose the cross community vote but that wasn’t the point. Nor really was her spirited defence.  It was the largely absent spectre at the feast who mattered – Sinn Fein, also the mouse that roared,  proving that if  the Executive parties stick together even back-to-back,  nothing can dislodge them.

For now at least, the ins- and out of the RHI scheme have been left behind. This was another stage  in the rocky road to government cohesion by a coalition of opposites that left the tyro opposition gasping.

For fans of democracy this is the slightly unnerving verdict.

Sinn Fein will revive their motion in orderly terms in the New Year. Will we have a  different and more effective re-run of today, this time with Sinn Fein in the driving seat and  moving the substantive motion? It didn’t sound as if Arlene’s withdrawal would be non-negotiable.   What are the chances of a joint DUP/Sinn Fein motion to set up the inquiry? At least that way, they would stay procedurally in order.

Almost certainly, game over and probably the match.

 

, , , ,

  • Redstar

    Ah yes. A mini inquiry organised by the party which is meant to be getting investigated and their obedient junior partners!

    That should quell any worries about accountability!!!!

    Can any of you Dupers, sorry Shinners – easy mistake to make- tell us all what happened to the ” grave consequences”Marty promised if Arlene didn’t stand aside?????

  • hotdogx

    Marty and co are up to something. If they save Arlene now then it’s for a good reason. This is a strategic move by SF.
    Maybe the have realized that a nut case blindfolded British nationalist xenophobe like Arlene brings in the most votes for SF.
    And if they don’t like it then they can do the Hokey Cokey and turn around

  • Redstar

    Lol

    It’s a Blackadder style cunning plan!!!-and equally as effective

    I seriously doubt it and I suspect tonight many of their own supporters doubt it too.

    Let’s see if they stand over their” Arlene must stand aside or else “- statement in the New Year.

    They bottled it today and we all know it

  • hotdogx

    Remember red we are dealing with someone who believes the sea coast nearest to her house is in Derry Down or Antrim. Of course I’ve got a nice big scoop of popcorn here and I’m watching the disaster unfold, and seeing the failed state reach epic new levels of failure. The only problem is the blindfolded people that continue to vote DUP inspite of the realities. Maybe finally some blindfolds will slip during the next election and the DUP will no longer hold a knife to throat of democracy with their POC’s

  • GEF

    “If they save Arlene now then it’s for a good reason. This is a strategic move by SF.”

    Indeed, its back to direct rule otherwise.

  • Katyusha

    Thought Arlene’s speech was disgraceful, personally. She ought to realise that she is no position right now to be criticising anyone’s fitness for office, having presided over a scheme that is to send almost half a billion pounds up in smoke. A little restraint and humility would go a long way; unfortunately she seems incapable of it.

    As for SF, they had nothing to lose by voting for the exclusion motion, as the DUP would have blocked it anyway, and so they may as well have voted for it. They weren’t able to table their amendment and they are sticking by their call for an independent inquiry and for Arlene to “step aside”. In the meantime, giving her enough rope is a fair tactic; she doesn’t seem to realise the damage she is doing to her own reputation. Time will tell if SF actually have the bottle to pull through and exclude her.

    The real story today for me was the disgraceful conduct of the Speaker. The DUP are treating Stormont like their own personal playset and they should not be allowed to get away with it.

  • Redstar

    You mention the problem of the failed state- SF are part of the problem as it is they who continue to prop it up and indeed administer it on behalf of their British masters. They had the opportunity today to pull the whole house down and showed their true colours.
    Bitches for the Dup

  • hotdogx

    I can’t get over the other fella Bell “god told me to rat them out” feckin hilarious, how do these people get votes!
    Do you remember in back to future where Marty Mcfly back in 1955 goes into his young fathers bedroom and puts headphones on the ears of his young father and plays VAN HALEN and convinces him he’s from space and he must ask his mother to the dance? Maybe we could do the same with Bell. We get him to go to sleep listening to rebel songs and tell him that a united ireland is gods wish!

  • grumpy oul man

    Now now. the shinners dont want a election. I dont want one either but im just fed up with them,
    The shinners i suspect would be afraid of one.
    PB4P give them a fright in west Belfast and they know in their heart of hearts that they have failed to impress at stormount.
    It is to hoped that next time we vote people remember what we voted in last time and dont make the same mistake again.

  • hotdogx

    Direct rule = direct violence especially with Brexit on the horizon

  • Lionel Hutz

    Sinn Fein saved DUP. That much is right. Now one of the DUP has to fold. Either Arlene has to step aside or Sinn Fein have to back down on their grave consequences.

    I know in a few weeks time today will be a memory but from today’s proceedings Arlene looks less likely to back down.

    It’s all a mess.

    So I guess Sinn Fein will have to claim that some investigation is a victory of sorts. I’m not sure it’s enough. Or even close to enough.

  • Redstar

    You’re bang on the money Lionel. As ever Dup runs rings round the Shinners

    I just dearly hope the anger within many of their own supporters over SFs handling of this stays with them.

    They are embarrassingly subservient to the Dup because of their craving to keep Stormont as with a stagnant vote and ageing out of touch career politicos at the helm they have nowhere else to go

  • eamoncorbett

    Brilliant.

  • Lionel Hutz

    I don’t know why it is. Is it just that fundamentally Sinn Fein have been made to believe that they need the executive more than the DUP? That’s the ultimate card and it just never seems realistic that Sinn Fein would ever play it.

  • Lionel Hutz

    The old myth that Sinn Fein have some great strategic ability has been debunked a long time

  • Redstar

    So very very true

  • notimetoshine

    Frankly at this stage, I think direct rule seems like a more sensible option. RHI is just the latest pinnacle of incompetence reached by the clown show that passes for government here. Won’t be the last but hardly unexpected. I can’t see direct rule being worse, it certainly wouldn’t be hard to be better.

  • notimetoshine

    God an election now or soon would be an absolute disaster for the major parties in Stormont. There is real, tangible and cross community anger over this RHI thing. Who knows what would happen. Would be quite entertaining though…

  • hotdogx

    So if I get what you are saying you are perfectly happy to see the future of this island and border managed by eton boy run SE Brexit England at this critical stage whom nobody here votes for and have no interest in this place, neither do they have any mandate in any part of Ireland. And for you that’s ok, have you a blindfold on?

  • notimetoshine

    What I’m saying is, the assembly (whatever party is in power) hasn’t exactly done a great job of governing in now has it? RHI is just the latest in a long line of disasters, missed opportunities and just good old fashioned incompetence to have dogged our so called government. I just think that it can hardly be worse, and maybe without all the green and orange nonsense we are daily subjected to, something might actually get done.

    Firstly I couldn’t care less where someone went to school, secondly brexit is going to be managed from London and our politicos are so incompetent they won’t make an ounce of difference anyway, thirdly our politicians hardly have an interest in this place, only their own ideological purity really matters and finally as for representation, I suppose you raise an interesting philosophical point about mandates but a mandate is no guarentee (as we have seen) of competent performance.

    I

  • Tarlas

    Whilst the Sinn Fein electorate have historically been labelled as benefit dependents etc. The real addicts, boorishly reliant on UK money were amongst a different sector of the community. Arlene (nee Kelly) may feel jubilant today; but she will discover she has more in common with her Sinn Fein namesake kith and kin, Gerry, as £400 million’s worth of smoke rings drift into the stratosphere; a bonfire of vanities.

  • hotdogx

    Yes, I agree, its never going to work, the fiasco on the hill is what unionism wants. POC’s etc.

    Where I disagree with you is that the Irish government will have a lot more negotiating power than any Mickey Mouse assembly or any Brexit government. They go in direct with Europe. How could you possibly believe otherwise when you know that the Irish government will do everything in their power to protect all Ireland & its people from Brexit being the most exposed country along with the Netherlands. This may be the test of the union for NI

  • Superfluous

    Or maybe we just haven’t seen the quid-pro-quo gift that Sinn Fein were handed… yet.

  • Granni Trixie

    Brian, if you were living here I wager you would know why I find it a bit obscene that you can refer to Arlene in the terms you do (“‘triumphant’,’won hands down’).
    You are as deluded as Arlene if you don’t see that how SHE seems to see what has happened is out of step with most of the rest of the country. Yes, the DUP might have used the rules to advantage but the people are not fooled.
    She still came across as lacking an appropriate humility or understanding that she is perceived as having been incompetent.
    It has also not been a triumph for the Speaker or for Claire Sugden. Today will be cast up to them forever.

    I can see why you speak as you do but I just think you are misjudging the situation.

    Funny enough I still believe that right will out eventually.

  • notimetoshine

    I’m sure the Irish govt will do all it can direct rule or not, it is in their interests after all.

    However direct rule or more realistically the intervention of the NIO may be required to solve this RHI debacle. Stormont has shown itself to be incapable of dealing with something so challenging, not ethically can it really do so.

    I smell another crisis a la fresh start and st andrews requiring the involvement of London.

  • hotdogx

    Grumpy & ntts I would love to see them squirm right now after all sh*t they put us through. PB4p for me is a protest vote due to dissatisfaction with SF and complete nationalist plan stagnation. The far left has been thrown on the political junk heap in most places across Europe. Where are Fianna Fáil “the Republican Party” in all of this! Could they gain cross community support?

    Doing something again and again and expecting different results is stupid as someone very smart once said. Time we tried something new the only thing we haven’t tried yet.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    The “grave consequences” appear to be solely for those of us having to live outside of the charmed circle of what is (oh so ironically) called governance here.

  • Brian Walker

    Granni I’m reporting a political occasion not the wider meaning of life. It would be misleading not to do so in outs own terms., I suspect what Nolan misdescribes as “the country” is split along familiar lines. Everyone is entitled to their own context..

  • hotdogx

    Yes roan Atkinson for DFM, I can see him lick that sticky sweet stuck to the inner lining of his jacket pocket every time the DUP ask him a question.

  • notimetoshine

    I think PBP aren’t truly invested in nationalism and why should they be? They are a truly leftist party and nationalism in leftist ideology is just another opiate of the people, designed to keep the working classes divided, or so the theory goes.

    Nationalist stagnation is I think due to a disinterest amongst the increasingly wealthy nationalist electorate. They got most of what they wanted post 98, why Rock the boat?

    From a purely political point of view I wonder what a protest vote looks like in NI if there were one over the RHI business. Would sectarian dog whistle politics trump electoral anger?

    Also what is the thing you say hasn’t been tried? I can’t think of anything that hasn’t been tried.

  • Cushy Glen

    Sinn Fein do their usual huffing & puffing & defend the DUP. SF are as guilty as the DUP now by association.
    It’s the people Vs the Executive now.

  • hotdogx

    Absolutely right, PB4B is a junk-heap lefty opiat that will become defunct as soon as real politics emerge.

    Right, NI Is held up on handouts 70% jobs here are public, and even if they hate the status quo they will let it slide if a UI remains a possibility with peace and equality guaranteed. It assumed a transparent open border with a say for the Irish government, correct

    A cross community protest vote would be cool, it reset all systems for afresh start
    however a unionist community protest could split the vote and bring home MMG as FM

    A UI is the only thing that hasn’t been tried yet, everything else has been tried to death with the obvious results

  • hotdogx

    Yes NIO may come into this, but direct rule has never been the answer and it certainly isn’t now. The Irish government will get involved before any direct rule is even proposed. However Brokenshire is but another appointed British viceroy to a state he knows nothing of nor elected by.

    Why do people vote DUP, hate for SF? Mystery to me!

  • notimetoshine

    I don’t understand why people vote DUP myself, though regressive, backwards ideas will always have a place in society mores the pity.

    Though I think it’s clear why people don’t vote for SF, the same reason I could never vote for them, violence.

  • Gopher

    I think triumphant is too strong a word, the opposition is weak and not of any great calibre. Foster is simply employing Fabian tactics to hopefully take the steam out of the crisis. She has a hard defence to break down because being in government she controls all the evidence. My gut feeling is still SF are not innocent in this whole matter which was reinforced today I get the impression the North goes along way to fund operations in the South which are two viable reason why an election has not been forced. The only way forward now is if someone does the decent thing and leaks the list of people who availed themselves of the scheme or publish other incriminating materiel

  • Granni Trixie

    You make my point precisely. Knowledge is derived,magpie like, from various sources. So perhaps what is missed from your analysis/judgement is the construction of an image of the DUP and Arlene which draws on multiple local sources of representation. So although ofcourse we all await “January” for new information, local people are likely to have already formed a view of incompetence and possible corruption.

  • hotdogx

    SF Will never form a government in a UI, political oblivion is their future once the border disappears, its like Samson when you cut his beard he looses his strength.
    Just like you I have never voted SF. I would be more right leaning, so there’s nobody here to represent me.
    As for DUP/SF My theory is they feed off each other. SF are a product of the failure of British rule in Ireland, partition and creation of an artificial state & border. They are like the abused child that grows up to become an abuser himself.

    However the DUP are born out of self righteousness and selfish control and it continues today, I’m not pardoning sinn fein but how can intelligent people vote DUP. A blind emotional attachment to a country that has no love nor care or interest for them.
    Unbelievable!!!!
    Seats in Dáil Éireann would put manners on all of them DUP SF and the rest as they have to deliver with real politics.

  • notimetoshine

    Does she control all the evidence though? Before the Bell interview she was well on her way to blaming the civil servants and I have to wonder what sort of cooperation she will get from them. Interesting thing about Bell in his interview was that he was very careful to ‘stick to the facts’ only really being drawn on points that had a paper trail he could clearly point to. Though it’s all moot really, no assembly inquiry is going to do more than censure her and the DUP at most, fudge the issue and hope it goes away.

    Completely agree with you on her tactics though, letting everything crash against her shield and at the appropriate moment maybe wielding her sword.

    What concerns me is how she can be out maneouvered. As you say the opposition certainly isn’t up to it and while the media has put real pressure on her they can only go so far. It’s clear something really fishy has gone on yet there is no appropriate forum to push for a real investigation nor are there capable opposition members to populate the forum.

    One of the real pitfalls of the assembly, the structure lends itself to unchecked incompetence. Just think if something like this went on in Westminister heads would roll and a powerful parliamentary committee system could get to the bottom of it.

  • AntrimGael

    Foster and the DUP may feel that they have gained some sort of victory but it’s a pyrrhic one. The entire Stormont administration has NO credibility whatsover; it’s ‘democratic’ standing is on a par now with North Korea or China. There is a distinct rotten whiff of, at best, total incompetence and, at worst, outright corruption coming off the place.
    If the RHI/NAMA/RED SKY/CHARTER NI scenarios had happened in many other ‘democracies’ the police and public prosecutors would have undoubtedly got involved and collars would have been felt. In this circus it’s arrogant dismissal, carry on regardless and whatever you are having yourself. It is obvious that accountability and standards in public office do not apply here and the DUP/Sinn Fein Axis has been given carte blanche to do what they want.
    The political system here is only working for, and serving the selfish interests of, these two parties AND a UVF/UDA/IRA elite who are creaming off millions of public money. So long as the guns are relatively silent and the peace-lines are largely quiet the British government seem quite happy to let a DUP/Sinn Fein/senior Civil Service cartel make it up as they go along. This crowd are ALL doing very well financially out of Stormont while most of the rest of us struggle on and people have just had enough.
    Sinn Fein are a disgrace and vindicated the impression amongst the Nationalist/Republican community that they are weak, spineless, hypocritical cowards. They are very much the bag carrier for the DUP and their humiliation and shame is now complete. They wear their sackcloth and ashes very well now. SHAME ON THEM and hopefully the electorate will continue to let them know at the ballot box.

  • New Yorker

    Where is the SOS in all this? Does he not care that at least 400 million is wasted?

  • file

    Brian – I would be more inclined to Newton Emerson’s opinon on proceedings yesterday. A triumph of ego for Foster, maybe, but the seeds of her own destruction surely?
    http://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/newton-emerson-arlene-foster-burns-in-fire-of-own-making-1.2911971

  • Gopher

    To borrow another phrase from Roman antiquity the DUP would be decimated if there was an election called which suggests their “alledged” arch enemies SF are not as innocent as they are pretending and are prepared to go along with Arlenes delaying tactics likely due to associated guilt. They have to keep their cash cow up here alive to fund Gerry’s ego trip down south.

    The media have to keep digging and people have to look at themselves Marty is getting first rate NHS treatment (what did the Romans ever do for us) but that wont be the case for all of us now.

  • Gopher

    Could someone clarify whether or not SF in ministeriel capacity would have access to the list of people that have availed themselves of the scheme? Perhaps Daithi if he is not too busy could inform us.

  • Dan

    Sums my opinion of Stormont up….

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OVOPkMtfy5g

  • Granni Trixie

    There has to be a movie in it! Or a musical? Who will play Arlene?

  • Granni Trixie

    Good point. The person who is gatekeeper on information/knowledge is key.
    Would it be a civil servant?

  • hotdogx

    Yeah, we could get Margaret Hamilton: she played wicked witch of the west in the wizard of oz!

    Perfect ????

  • Katyusha

    Fianna Fáil would do well to stay as far, far away from this debacle as possible.

    You’re talking about a party synonymous with brown envelopes and which wrote am unlimited guarantee to insolvent banks. They make the DUP’s financial cock-up look small time, but at least If FF were running this scheme you could guarantee it was corruption that was the cause. The DUP are so incompetent that you can’t even give them the credit that these handouts might have been engineered as such.

  • Skibo

    It is a bit far fetched to link Stormont to North Korea. If it was Korea, we would never hear of any of this.
    A closer analysis would be the Dail where they set up inquiries, run them for a couple of years and then bury them. Most European governments have done the same over the previous banking crisis.
    Iceland is the only country which demanded judicial investigations and charges.
    SF have put in a difficult position. They wanted to show they could work with the DUP in a positive manner.
    It is the DUP who have let the side down and this is merely the last of a number of debacles.
    They have done all they can to keep the sip afloat. I suggest to them should Arlene not step aside in the new year and have an independent inquiry free of political interference, bring this to an end.
    Do not enter office again till all the promises that were given and then reneged on are guaranteed.
    We are tired of empty promises and broken words.

  • Skibo

    Where do you get the figure of 70% jobs are public jobs? The actual figure is 27.6% for NI, 25.2% for Wales and 16.25 for in around the East and south east of England. The UK stands as a whole at around 19%.
    Now remember GB has privatised areas that we have not. English colleges, Health, busses and trains to mention a few.
    The South is sitting at around 18.4%.
    The level of public jobs has fallen progressively in the last few years and will continue to do so.

  • Skibo

    Gopher, what are you going to charge the people who signed up for the RHI with? Being financially astute?
    From what we have seen so far all, all links with RHI are with DUP. FM, Minister and Special advisors. The budget must have been approved so we could probably include the Finance Minister at that time also.
    The triumph shown by Arlene was for her own supporters.It will not have convinced anyone wavering about who was to blame.
    I would like to see if she will be as triumphalist in front of a judge led inquiry.

  • Skibo

    Perhaps the more logical response is that SF are looking for stable government.
    Your response is so staunch Unionist, “it must be Sinn Fein’s fault”. That is too easy. The only ones backing away from an independent inquiry is the DUP. Simple. You are looking for something to get them off the hook and I don’t see it coming.
    At every turn the problem returns to the DUP.

  • Skibo

    I don’t see any need for a great strategy. The motion yesterday was never going to achieve anything whether SF voted for it or not.
    Had the motion accepted the changes put forward by SF, Arlene could have been forced to stepped aside and allowed a full and independent inquiry.

  • Skibo

    How would a minister from a different ministry have access to information in this ministry? Gopher you are looking for any evidence. I know, I know, I believe SF and DUP share canteen facilities. There must me some connection there! Catch yourself on Lad.

  • Skibo

    The GFA was held up as the agreement that did away with the Anglo Irish Agreement. Direct rule would return if Stormont temporarily stalled. If it was permanent, some form of Joint Authority would result.

  • mac tire

    “the DUP would be decimated if there was an election called…”

    Could you list the reasons why you think this decimation would happen, particularly set in the context of SF triggering an election by its actions?

  • Redstar

    Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant!

  • John Collins

    The main politicians get ‘first rate’ medical in most countries. After all they are worth it.

  • Lionel Hutz

    If Sinn Fein had supported the motion, Foster would have had to step down or Sinn Fein would have had to collapse the executive.

    The point is that the DUP never believed in any grave consequenes and Sinn Fein never given them reason to. There is something to having a poker face

  • Gopher

    Well if I was deputy first minister and someone kept me out of the loop of a 1.2 billion scheme that has wasted 400 million I think I would demand all the revelant details including every name from the manufacturers to the installaion and site of every boiler and if that wernt forthcoming I would bring the whole thing down. Does Marty know every name, has he asked?

    I dont know how Stormont works but Diathi does he is an ex minister he could tell us. He could say whether or not ministers can ask for information from other departments, what are the logistics of cross departmental information etc etc etc. Instead we get a post about how a chair favoured his own party. Maybe Bell is right ministers get an office a car and told not to touch anything.

  • Gopher

    I think the catalyst for the election is immateriel, having seen the referendum vote and the US election I feel there is momentum for giving certain parties a kicking. On the DUP’s watch while your mother lies on a trolley in a hospital corridor under 2,000 people that are not short of a few quid have been gifted a lot of money.

  • Gopher

    I dont see it in unionist and nationalist terms, I see it as the government which consists of the DUP and SF have cost us 400 million. Now if SF are innocent of incompetence and more likely fraud they can pull the plug as there is no other mechanism to get rid of the DUP. SF’s continual response of tomorrow we might do something does not wash with me
    and if that makes one that SF are prone to colour one with then so be it.

  • AntrimGael

    I disagree that the DUP would be decimated in a new election. Unionist politics is STILL very much driven by sectarianism and bigotry and the DUP, and probably the UUP, will still play the Orange card in every election so long as ‘themmuns’ don’t get in. The Unionist electorate will forgive Arlene and the DUP ANYTHING so long as Sean and Nuala know their place.That’s why ‘politics’ here is doomed.

  • mac tire

    “On the DUP’s watch while your mother lies on a trolley in a hospital corridor under 2,000 people that are not short of a few quid have been gifted a lot of money.”

    I’m not so sure that would be foremost in Unionist minds at the ballot box, tbh. I asked in the context of SF triggering an election because that would be relevant because the DUP would make it so – to scare Unionists into voting for them and to drown out the sounds about ‘cash for ash’.

    The DUP might well lose a seat or two but decimation? No, unfortunately.

  • Madra Uisce

    Your post absolutely sums up Unionist politics to a tee. It always been about themmuns, the average Unionist voter wont give a damn about any of this as long as they can keep those pesky Taigs at bay.Its in the DNA im afraid.

  • AntrimGael

    Sadly it’s the reality which many won’t face up to. I watched Stormont yesterday and most of the DUP crowd wouldn’t look out of place with tall hats and buckles in their shoes. They are in a medieval time-warp where NO POPE HERE and The Penal Laws still reign supreme. London and Dublin are happy to keep the North at arm’s lengths so long as it doesn’t frighten the hounds. The place is simply poisonous.

  • Gopher

    The unionist electorate have ran Peter Robinson out of his seat they have put Bob McCartney out of politics and gave a single unionist candidate the scare of his life. All in recent history. SF might be scared to call an election for their own reasons and content to peddle the same nonsense you are

  • Gopher

    Well lets give the electorate a chance to speak on this matter, if SF had any balls they would.

  • Skibo

    Gopher you are suggesting that an election will get rid of the DUP. Are you serious? If SF bring down the Executive it would be a rallying call to all Unionists who hate SF to rally behind Saint Arlene.
    SF have to show that have given the DUP every chance to explain the RHI scandal and put the blame fairly and squarely at the correct door.
    The link that you try to make of SF in cahoots with the DUP as both are in government together hits a serious snag when you examine when the scheme started.
    We had a five party executive then. Do you hold them all in contempt? Do you hold DUP at all in contempt or merely SF as they should have kept the DUP in line?
    Remember when the DUP played ” I step out and you step in”, Arlene was left in place to make sure the rouge Nationalist and Republican ministers couldn’t do anything underhand. Wonder did that include finding out the extent of a scandal the RHI has now shown itself to be?

  • Skibo

    Gopher, there lays the crux of the issue. Is this why the DFM would not support the FM in her statement?
    As for the issue of a £1.2billion scheme, it was never meant to be such a scheme. The Treasury was supposed ton pick up the tab. It only became an issue when they said they wouldn’t. Had Arlene noticed this at the time, we wouldn’t be in this position or was she just being too crafty for her own good and trying to get the Treasury to input British tax payers money into the NI economy directly?

  • Skibo

    No she wouldn’t. DUP have enough votes on the Unionist side to defeat the motion. Had the changes by SF been taken on board, the section 30 could have been dropped and she could have been forced to step aside.
    DUP then may have collapsed the executive. Not sure who rejected the SF proposals, was it the opposition or the speaker?

  • mac tire

    That’s nice, Gopher.

    Peter Robinson was not the only Unionist or DUPer, for that matter, to be involved in a scandal of some sort over the recent past. McCausland had no such issues nor the DUP party over Jenny Palmer, as one example. It’s still my view the DUP will emerge relatively unscathed.

    But despite your valid points in your last post, it still gives no evidence of what you called decimation. Your points actually make my point – they will suffer a loss or two (Peter Robinson) because if what you say was true then the whole party would have suffered because of Robinson at the time. It didn’t.

    We are likely to find out anyway soon enough.

  • Gopher

    Again I can only repeat SF’s inaction smells more than kippers. It does not matter that Marty did not support the statement Arlene stood up as the defacto leader of Northern Ireland and gave that speech.

  • Skibo

    Gopher perhaps you do not understand the significance of what happened. The speaker recognised the right of the FM to speak for the Executive without the support of the DFM. That goes to the very soul of the GFA. Parity of position. They are to be symbiotic. If this stands and is not corrected, I would ask both Nationalist parties to remove themselves from Stormont in protest.
    That is how serious it is. Unless the Speaker comes back and says that Arlene only spoke as leader of the DUP and apologise to the house for allowing the speech to happen at all.