First questions about the DUP deal with the Conservatives

Handing over the money is not contingent on restoring the Executive – at least in print. but it is clearly intended  to put pressure on Sinn Fein. If there is no Executive what happens with the new £1 billion and even the already promised £500 million? A budget has to be passed next month by the Executive or by Westminster.

The DUP has accepted that the British government will be impartial  according to GFA principles for the Stormont talks and subsequently, despite the deal stating that the Conservative party “ can never be neutral”  on the Union. Will Sinn Fein and nationalism generally  challenge  the done deal for lack of impartiality or take the money and run  with it?

The deal statement says “ the legacy bodies would function in a way which is fair balanced and proportionate and which will not unfairly  focus on former members of the security forces.” How is this compatible with applying the Armed Forces Covenant “in full “ to Northern Ireland?  Does it presage a new deal for civilian victims of all kinds?

Not surprisingly there is no mention of any change in the UK Government ‘s reserve  on disclosure  on national  security grounds.  This remains a big  problem.

It looks as if the legacy plan will be published soon as the deal confirms that it will go out to consultation. The form of that consultation will be keenly awaited  to ensure it will not be monopolised by the parties  unable to break their deadlock.

As Air Passenger Duty is to be devolved and lower Corporation Tax was already approved and indeed encouraged by previous governments,  such concessions  would normally be offset by reductions in the block grant.  Will these now not take place? Or do they depend on the outcome of yet more  consultations?  With whom? Northern Ireland’s competitors  to be included?

The commitment to farm funding  already extended to the then legal limit of the previous Parliament to 2020. Applying it to the end of this Parliament could actually be a shorter commitment because of its obvious vulnerability. But constitutionally, that’s as far as any such commitment can be  made.

Health funding  promises “health service transformation.” We shall see .

The  survival of the triple lock being highlighted  in London was already certain, as the limit and cap  on charges to pensioners had been glaringly absent in the Queen’s Speech.

The Welsh  who are already feeling hard done by under the Barnet formula are furious. And what of the Scots and English regions? What happens to common cause among  Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?

More probing needed in Commons statement later today.

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  • ted hagan

    As regards the allocation of funds, according to Henry McDonald in the Guardian

    ‘There has been some confusion over any pre-conditions supposedly laid down as to if and when Northern Ireland get this extra one billion pound plush cash injection.
    The only pre-condition is that the DUP supports a minority Conservative government and that is now the case.
    It does NOT hinge on what happens at the talks in Stormont aimed at restoring power sharing devolved government in Northern Ireland. Rather the additional money for capital spending is an incentive to local politicians to seal their own deal and take full control of how that money is allocated across various devolved ministries like health and education.
    If they can’t reach a deal by deadline day on Thursday then it will probably be either Northern Ireland civil servants or even London based Tory ministers who will manage the additional spending on a direct rule basis.’

  • chrisjones2

    Very sensible model for the deal as SF are unreliable partners. This will leave them painted even more firmly into a corner by their own foolish decisions

  • Karl

    The Military Covenant gives SF a handy red line get out clause for not going back to Stormont. It’ll be easier to influence the British govt via the Irish govt for cross border infrastructure projects ,like the roads and MaGee campus that dealing with the unionists.
    The DUP have overplayed their hand.

  • ted hagan

    I doubt the DUP care, to be honest. Sinn Fein need to find a way in, not a way out.

  • chrisjones2

    If they don’t it will be met with a deep yawn as the Direct Rile Ministers arrive to take over and spend money for the benefit of the whole community

  • chrisjones2

    Why should they …but it will put the Sdlp on the spot if they dont

  • chrisjones2

    Brian

    I am sorry but would we not be better with one thread on this. Two in 17 minutes is a bit much?

  • hollandia

    “Direct Rile Ministers”. Freudian.

  • Karl

    I think they’ll take that. Wait for the DUP to support the Tories through Brexit and call Assembly elections in 2 yearss. Thats where my 50p is going.

  • chrisjones2

    Very

  • Karl

    The DUP do care. They want Stormont up and running. SF will be more comfortable railing against the Brits and direct rule. They certainly dont want to be anywhere near Stormont again when the austerity Mk II comes in to pay for Brexit. They done all the mitigation they can within the existing block grant.
    Time to get out, shout loudly and watch the unfolding the disaster be the impetus for unification.
    Thats the plan. It remains to be seen if it works.

  • runnymede

    ‘Does it presage a new deal for civilian victims of all kinds?’

    It should do. Partisan politicking and score settling over the tragedies of the past has to stop.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    My question to that view Karl, is can they hold the Republican Base for your guess a 2 year period of Direct Rule ? It could even go to 5 years ? I don’t think it is sustainable ? Republicanism will fracture again !

  • Karl

    I think with likely elections to both the Dail and Westminster and the drip drip from the Brexit negotiations there’ll be plenty to keep them occupied.

    They will also be looking at constituency reform. The Tories need it to go ahead to stem Labour and the DUP would likely lose 3 seats.

    We live in interesting times.

    I think 2022 is a good date to finish the whole thing off.

  • mickfealty

    Don’t be cheeky. What do you think we’re here for, just to enable the Kaboodle wag the Kit?

  • Zeno3

    Last week, Gerry Adams said, Stormont is the route to Irish Unity and then a few days later, Irish Unity will happen in a few short years. I think time is of the essence.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Not often I agree with Adams but he is correct Republicans need a working Stormont with its Unionist Neighbours to have any chance of Irish Unity in the Future !

  • Karl

    The last thing Gerry needs is another layer of British administration and an additional forum for unionism. Hes working on keeping it simple.

  • Eoin Fogarty

    Its a good deal for Northern Ireland.
    Maybe Stormont can be cobbled back together for a while, but the there has to be some reform for it to work. Marriage equality and a language act have never been unreasonable demands. Movement on this and i thinkvit could work out quite well for everybody

  • chrisjones2

    Cant blame me for trying to rationalise. It is/was an age of austerity!

  • chrisjones2

    …but then he did once suggest 2016 …..

  • chrisjones2

    Pity he collapsed it them and on a totally false premise

  • chrisjones2

    …with many of our MLAs on both sides that is sensible

  • Skibo

    “The DUP has accepted that the British government will be impartial” What has DUP feelings on the impartiality of the British Government got do do with anything?
    Sinn Fein, SDLP and Alliance have all commented to a greater or lesser extent about the impartiality of a DUP ventriloquists SOS dummy.
    The other thing that has not been considered here is the fact that legislation actually requires an election if the Executive cannot be formed. Anything else requires changes in legislation.

  • chrisjones2

    Depends on the form / scope of the language act

  • chrisjones2

    Doesnt it say wonders about NI Politics.

    I know the deal is new today and other threads have run longer but

    Total comments on £1.5bn of new money and the deal 86
    Total comments on theft of pallets for a bonfire 340

  • Skibo

    Can you post a reference where he guaranteed 2016? I could give you one for 2024 but that was Star Trek.

  • Eoin Fogarty

    something that promotes the language rather than enforces it will work.

  • Eoin Fogarty

    How much of that 340 thread is a flame war between 2/3 people 🙂

  • james

    Lot of e-flegging going down on both sides on the pallets thread.

  • BERZERKERMG

    Obviously Mick has calculated the minimum number of blog posts needed per day/week in order to achieve X amount of clicks, hence the repetition. It’s akin to proximity marketing – “I’ve clicked on this post, so while I’m here I might as well click on this very similar post to see if there’s anything slightly new on it.” Seems he knows his niche but voracious audience well enough at this stage.

  • notimetoshine

    A discourse worthy of Socrates no doubt

  • Karl

    Get both of those through direct rule.

  • Zorin001

    In fairness Chris these two articles have only been up 3 hours!

  • notimetoshine

    Funny I was thinking that myself yesterday, I was speaking to a school principal who was at his wits end over funding. His pupil numbers are such that he really needs a second class of this year come September but has no idea where the money is coming from. I know of a government agency where the staff were supposed to have taken voluntary redundancy in June but are now to continue indefinitely because the funding for the redundancies hasn’t been put in place yet that agency is having its budget cut on the basis of those redundancies so there will be a deficit somewhere.

    It may not be ‘sexy’ but these problems are the end impact of an impasse at Stormont that most people don’t seem bothered with.

    I think it is indicative of the problems that NI, that things like pallets can exercise us to an extent that other, more practical issues don’t. It is the same with this deal, it has allowed our politicos to take the eye off the ball.

  • chrisjones2

    Oh I dont know…. £1.5bn does get the juices flowing

  • Neil

    Total comments on thread one – 3 hours old – 78
    Total comments on thread two – 3 days old – 340

  • notimetoshine

    He may have gotten it wrong on this thread, as you point out it isn’t old. But I was astonished by the activity over ‘palletgate’

  • DOUG

    It might when we find out how it’s spent though

  • Neil

    I couldn’t be bothered looking at that one again, but I’d say more than 50% off the comments are from 4 people. Most of the comments had little or nothing to do with the substantive point of the thread which was the (boneheaded) actions of Belfast City Council.

  • Neil

    OK I looked. Doing a search for Georfe there are 169 instances of comments from Georfe or responses to him/her. If we’re going to be drawing any inference from the number of comments it’s worth noting that the majority are either made by the most vocal Loyalist on the thread or in response to his many examples of whataboutery.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I have little time for Adams, to say the very least, but was it not the imploding of the executive here Arlene’s call in her refusing to conform to normal political practice anywhere else and to stand down where a clear conflict of interest was evident? Even Peter was prepared to accept the customary convention until he was given his “note” by the in house solicitor.

  • SDLP supporter

    If you think Varadkar is going to let Adams use him as a surrogate negotiator, that won’t happen.

  • Eoin Fogarty

    thats no garentee with the current government. It needa to be agreed first

  • Skibo

    Only £1B new money. Rest was agreed previously. Other £500M is the ability to borrow money.
    It will be interesting to go through it with a fine tooth comb to see how much of the £1B is actually new money or perhaps an advance on future finance or just a re-wrapping of money we are entitled to anyway.

  • mickfealty

    You’ve plainly missed that there is no one party line on any give subject. Our established bloggers have complete writerly independence (which is critical for a genuine blogger). There is little calculation.

  • BERZERKERMG

    And here I was thinking you were some kind of digital marketing genius.

  • Skibo

    Obviously a comment like that will have them champing at the bit to get into Stormont!
    From what I see and hear in nationalist and Republican circles the size of the bung to the DUP will have little or no effect on the fact that DUP do not want to share power or come to an accommodation.
    The DUP old guard see any movement of accommodation towards SF as a support for a united Ireland and a weakening of the Unionist tradition.
    It was the DUP that undermined the working relationship and Arlene’s lack of ability to read the seriousness of the situation pre Christmas that led to the fall of Stormont.

  • Karl

    The juduciary decide not the government

  • Karl

    If you think Varadkar is going to be Taoiseach in 18 months….

  • BERZERKERMG

    I don’t think that’s true. I think SF need to get the Assembly back up and running. That plan of chaos leading to unification is a non-runner and the Shinners are shrewd enough at this stage to recognize it. It will win them no friends and cement a reputation as the permanent party of protest they are trying to shake off. SF know if they are seen to be reneging on the GFA they will not find a coalition partner in the South which is their priority. Unless the DUP behaves incredibly unreasonably there will be no votes down south for SF turning their back on the Assembly. The Irish government won’t indulge them if they sabotage the institutions in pursuance of a gamble on unity and they will lessen their chances of being able to form a government in the near future.

  • BERZERKERMG

    Michael Martin and Gerry Adams are on even worse terms. It was Martin who was Maria Cahill’s greatest champion in the Dail.

  • SDLP supporter

    It sure won’t be Gerry Adams.

  • Madra Uisce

    Anyone know what the UDA and UVF cut is yet. Deprived communities and all that.

  • Madra Uisce

    What was more astonishing was the blatant man playing that was ignored by the Slugger admin

  • Karl

    Nope but Adams will still be a party leader, Leo wont.

  • Karl

    Who do you think Michael would choose to go into government with given the choice?

    a) Fine Gael thereby destroying the reason for their separateness for 90 years and who will be equal partners in the coalition (there or thereabouts)
    b) SF who FF can bring in from the cold making their journey into constitutional politics complete and then gut as the junior partners in the coalition, a la the Greens, or the PDs or anyone else who’s shared a plate in the Galway tent.

    Michael principles and differences with SF will disappear if Gerry can make him Taoiseach and to think otherwise is naive.

  • ted hagan

    Only 1bn pounds. Talk about begrudgery.

  • BERZERKERMG

    It’s a fair point, but I don’t think any party would go into government with SF if SF were abstaining from the Assembly and endangering the GFA. The ground rules for SF acceptability are a stable NI. The grievances over things like RHI and Arlene as First Minister have little resonance south of the border where the attitude is “just get on with it”.

  • SDLP supporter

    Adams will be a septuagenarian, well past his sell-by date.

  • AndyB

    Hi Chris

    Something very similar happened with the Donaldson report a couple of years ago, where Mick, korhomme and I all made posts that had a little overlap, but said three different complementary things.

    The same happened today. I think Brian was writing his piece offline when I posted mine, but it’s entirely fair to say that he, @mickfealty:disqus and I had three unique things to say, and that’s all that matters. Brian could certainly have commented on my post, as could Mick, but they were adding to the discussion in a way that more than deserved separate posts rather than making comments that could get lost in the midst of someone else’s post.

    Mind you, all I really did was to light the touchpaper, retreat to a safe distance, and get the crisps and ice cream out because I don’t like popcorn. 😉

  • Karl

    He’s been well past his sell by date on more than one occasion and seems to pull it out of the bag just when it looks like he’ll need to pack his. I would have preferred him to be the first of the old guard to go but he may do a Castro and try to be the last.

  • Georfe Jungle

    “only”………………………………rolfcopter

  • Georfe Jungle

    Yes, they are deprived communities, why are you belittling them ?

  • Georfe Jungle

    But your post has two instances of Georfe………and he wasn’t in the room

    I hope you didn’t do a simple (I’m not betting against it) search ?

  • Georfe Jungle

    It was only eclipsed by your incessant trolling.

  • Skibo

    The post was declaring £1.5B. It is actually £1B and the full facts of that £1B has to be checked as the Treasury has a bad habit of taking old money redressing it and sending it out as new money.
    They did the same thing with the NHS in GB where they issued a statement saying there was and extra £10B but when you went into fine detail, the new money was neared £2B.
    This is all linked to the DUP passing a Budget when they have not seen!

  • Skibo

    Merely correcting the post. There is quite a difference in £1.5B and £1B.

  • Reader

    Skibo: What has DUP feelings on the impartiality of the British Government got do do with anything?
    Was that a rhetorical question? The key part is “the DUP has accepted…”. That acceptance means that the impartiality of the British Government actions won’t undermine the political deal. “feelings” don’t come into it.

  • Skibo

    The DUP were never raising the impartiality of the BG. SF, SDLP and Alliance were. How does the deal reassure any of those parties?
    The fact that were will be a committee with the BG and the DUP considering further alliances is bound to be concerning even if the SOS does not attend them.

  • Skibo

    What, as long as it does not promote the Irish Language but allows people to speak it as long as they can speak English also?
    Must include a multitude of references to Ulster Scots as a language.

  • Zorin001

    How much are the UDA and UVF depriving their communities through drug dealing and rampant criminality?

  • Korhomme

    You may well think that I’m being a churl here, a grumpy old fossil…but:

    The DUP have been given a handout, a dole, to prop up a very shaky minority government. I guess the handout will help those areas whose funding has been deprived recently…but

    For how much longer can the DUP expect that voters and tax payers on the ‘mainland’ will continue to be happy with this sort of grubby politicking?

    And why is it that NI requires such substantial bailouts? Isn’t this evidence that NI is, in economic terms, a failed statelet? And why has it failed, on whose watch did it fail?

    We had 50 years of Unionist hegemony; what did that produce? Did it give us a properly functioning economy, one where real wages rose and where there was full employment? Where new industries came to replace the shipyards, the linen industry and so on?

    And then we had 30 years of the ‘Troubles’; and what provoked that? It’s reasonable that inward investment during this time didn’t happen because the emphasis was on security and rebuilding what had been destroyed; and who was responsible for so much of this?

    And now we have had 20 years of ‘peace’, but are we economically better off? It doesn’t really seem so.

    Meanwhile our politicians quibble and argue over what are really pretty trivial problems. Will the sky fall, Chicken Licken, if there is gay marriage or if there is abortion? Are these really more important than trying to build an economy, one that can pay for itself? And now we bicker about the Irish language…and still the sky doesn’t fall?

    Yes, in the short term, a bung of this size is a great help; but in the longer term, it shows that we are still a bunch of benefit scroungers, a place where it seems that our politicians can’t get off their backsides to so something positive; they can whine about the ‘threat’ of a United Ireland, those of whom whose principles permit an engagement in governance; or, they can whine about ‘equality’ while looking southwards as if that were a land of milk and honey, where all our problems would magically fade into nothingness like the morning mist in summer.

    A churl? Perhaps I am, but not without reason.