Disaffection of SF’s base will likely tie Michelle O’Neill’s hand in Autumn talks

Interesting piece from John Manley on Danny Morrison’s latest intervention on the current impasse:

Mr Morrison told The Irish News that Sinn Féin’s support base had become disillusioned with power-sharing because unionists failed to reciprocate outreach gestures from the likes of former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

The one-time Mid Ulster assembly member said relations began deteriorating four years ago when Peter Robinson pulled the plug on the Maze-Long Kesh peace centre.

“It’s about the DUP either unintentionally or deliberately misconstruing republican efforts at outreach as weakness,” he said, citing other examples including the withdrawal of Irish language funding by communities minister Paul Givan and the row between the parties over welfare reform.

He said the Sinn Féin leadership had sought to remain in the executive even after the RHI scandal had gathered pace and other parties were calling for Arlene Foster to step aside as first minister.

“It appeared to me, even at that stage, that Sinn Féin was still trying to preserve things but I believe the base had shifted,” he said.

This last is the key. If Danny is right then Ms O’Neill cannot do a deal with the DUP even if she wanted to, as he appears to concede with admirable candour, “you shouldn’t baulk at making the right decision because of an unfavourable consequence”.

H/T Slugger reader Granni.

  • runnymede

    ‘ because unionists failed to reciprocate outreach gestures’

    That shows a remarkable degree of self-delusion.

  • Karl

    If you’re representative of unionist opinion and dont see any gestures of outreach from SF then, therein lies the issue and makes the shift in position entirely reasonable.
    Im not sure why Mick thinks MON is out of step with the party and why SF would want to revive Stormont as a delivery system that doesnt deliver.

  • mickfealty

    I’m not sure why you would suggest that, since I didn’t. I’m saying Ms O’Neill is asking for negotiations she already must know are doomed given the exigencies of the pre collapse crisis in SF’s base.

    [Remember, “the Black Knight is always invincible”] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RR4wf6AAcQc

  • PeterBrown

    List the gesture(s)

  • Karl

    She’s called the the talks for optics, nothing more. SF push for an election once the impact of what the DUP campaigned for becomes clear for NI. The harder the better.

  • Karl

    I’ll give you one to start you off. Understanding unionist concerns and not insisting that Justice be part of dHondt.
    A mistake but a gesture nonetheless.

  • mickfealty

    To what end would the British feel compelled to agree? And to what end? The final crushing of the middle ground? Surely it needs to put something other than the promise of further chaos to force anyone to do anything?

  • Karl

    Agree to an Assembly election? Its the next step in a pre existing agreement. There is no provision for anything else.
    What exists presently is not chaos and I very much doubt that chaos will be coming.
    What doesnt exist is an acceptance of the utter clusterfup that the DUP and the British govt have foisted upon the people of NI and only until both parties can admit to that, can progress be made.
    The first step is for the alcoholics recovery is to admit he has a problem. That problem will become more apparent as the two years of Brexit talks draw to a close.

  • mickfealty

    What’s the quid pro quo? When you say optics, you really mean Bullshit (in the respectable academic sense: https://goo.gl/mxUfWO). I think we’re long past the point of it being at environmental menace levels. Whatever is agreed, it is worthless if like fresh start and others it can be defaulted upon so rapidly. As Newt points out, the DUP has options now. All SF has is a docket.

  • Dan2

    Republican efforts at outreach… hahahaha.
    Yeah right.
    The fishwife ranting in Brussels was a good example….and she was their lead reacher outer.

  • Karl

    If optics is bullshit, then we all know how much of what is called politics is bullshit.
    NI is ungovernable and the DUP have played their part in making it so by ensuring that SF had nothing to show their supporters for their participation in Stormont. The DUP overplayed their hand.
    The DUP might consider themselves lucky with the Westminster election result but their options consist of looking ineffectual when Teresa sides with British industry to the detriment of NI, or walking away from a disaster of their own making. Instead of keeping their heads down, the DUP deal with Theresa will prove to be the most pyrrhic of victories .

  • runnymede

    This just the traditional Republican ‘something will turn up’ argument yet again, isn’t it?

  • Stephen Kelly

    Keep it up dan keep it up everybody give the nationalists absolutely nothing mock them, march over them,make fun of their Mickie mouse language their awful schools (Me and my children went to them, great schools in my humble opinion) But then i am a nationalist catholic and the big Newt reckons i am a beaten docket i’m a bit of a know nothing. Go on keep on giving us absolutely nothing see what you get in the end. Newt says the DUP/UDA/UVF have options, wonderful wonderful (look out Ballykeel Newt says the DUP/UDA/UVF have got lots of goodies on the way, just don’t hold your breath. And Newt says all that the Catholics and nationalists have is a beaten docket. And the Sinn Feinn nationalist community reminds people of a Monte python sketch. Oh well lets all sit back and watch nothing happen ho hum. But my what a joke sinn fein and the voting catholic nationalist community are.

  • Dan2

    Oh dry your eyes for goodness sakes.
    The ‘nationalists’ have got what all the rest of us have.
    Perhaps if they decided to make Northern Ireland a success, instead of a determination to do it down at every possible opportunity, we could all do better, and the generosity of spirit, the respect you demand (not earned) would be more forthcoming.
    So what are you threatening anyhow? What are we going to get ‘in the end’ exactly?

  • Karl

    Yup. Brexit is something else alright. You can pretty much rely on uniomism to give nationalism the pick me up it needs when the status quo looks settled.

  • PeterBrown

    It was not a unilateral gesture of outreach it was an agreement

  • Ruairi Murphy

    To say that respect of your fellow co-inhabitants of this part of the world has not been earned speaks volumes for your mentality.

  • Dan2

    Twaddle

  • the keep

    It might not only be the DUP causing trouble for MON its fairly well known that she has a very fractious relationship with a senior SF MLA.

  • NotNowJohnny

    We’re going to get an Irish language act in the end. Well, you did ask.

  • NotNowJohnny

    Of course it was an agreement. It had to be. But the subsequent agreement re the filling of the justice ministry in 2016 was only possible because of the gesture of outreach by Sinn Fein to agree to a unionist (albeit an independent one) taking the post. However if you have already decided that any gesture of outreach by Sinn Fein isn’t a gesture of outreach even if it looks, walks and talks like a gesture of outreach, then obviously you’re not going to agree.

  • PeterBrown

    So what was the concession – the negotiated need for cross community support or the agreement of an Alliance (undesignated other not unionist unless Trimble needs a bailout by the way) or Sugden the minister?

    It seems that you and Karl are not singing from the same hymn sheet here which only leads to greater confusion and the inevitable conclusion that the great list of outreach concessions is a figment of Martina stick your outreach where the sun don;t shine Anderson’s imagination – if you can;t even tell what the outreach is how am I supposed to tell it is an outreach?

  • mickfealty

    “we all know how much of what is called politics is bullshit.”

    You haven’t bother reading the linked reference, have you? I’ve time and space for hypocrisy (https://goo.gl/yLs8rZ) in democratic politics as a means for changing your mind to align with “the facts”.

    But are you really saying it’s okay to pass something you know to be a lie as real because it’s for the optics?

  • Karl

    Someone should build a camp there.

  • Karl

    Im pretty sure that a large part of election manifestos are exactly that. Put in by the respective parties to enable them to talk a good game on the doorstep knowing full well that many of the policies have no chance of being enacted.
    Im not sure how many elections you’ve been around for, but there have been a fair few, are you telling me that this bullshit meter isnt off the scale in most manifestos, particularly in jurisdictions with a prevalence for coalition administrations?

  • PeterBrown

    You might think that – the polls say something completely different

  • NotNowJohnny

    I’ve already explained what the outreach was in the example given. Sinn Fein could have refused to support a unionist justice minister. But they didn’t. Equally the DUP could have ageeec to a nationalist justice minister in an act of outreach but they didn’t. Theres no confusion here.

  • Karl

    Eh, Brexit hasnt happened yet. The consequences arent certain but the negotiations dont appear to be going too well for one side. Not unreasonably since they dont appear to have agreed their negotiating position or their end goal before they started.
    The polls and the subsequent elections will bear this out.

  • PeterBrown

    Your outreach example is different from Karl,s and frankly has no equivalence as there is no independent nationalist for the DUP to support – what would the consequences have been Guevara either party if no minister was appointed? What did the DUP / unionism gain from the outreach? What did it cost Sinn Fein?

  • PeterBrown

    Yea unity by 2016 (again) another United Ireland at the end of a rainbow

  • Karl

    Who says unity is the goal? Im inclined to let unionism deal with a SF majority on their own in 10 years. The progressives have been sidelined. There are no consequences to decisions in NI while underwritten by the British, as a result, the politics and politicians remain at playground level.
    Who wants to be involved in potty training that lot?
    Let Brexit and austerity teach them all a lesson and wait for them to grow up. If it doesnt happen, leave them with the basket case economy, in the social backwater, watching their children leave for a better life in Britain or the EU.
    Irish unity doesnt have to be the ultimate goal, but it should be. How long will it take a majority in NI to realise it?

  • NotNowJohnny

    I’m not surprised my example of outreach is different to karls as that was my intention. As to what unionism gained, it gained unionist control of policing and justice an issue so important to unionism that there has never been a nationalist in control of policing and justice in the 95 year history of the state.

    What did it cost Sinn Fein? It was a risk for Sinn Fein politically given the history of policing and justice under unionist control in the state and by the British in Ireland generally prior to the state being set up.

  • PeterBrown

    The devolution of policing and justice to the assembly with an Alliance other or independent unionist minister was a zero gain sum not an outreach or concession implementing what the DUP & SF agreed at St Andrews – in return SF are now expecting the DUP to keep Tony Blair’s promises! Seems like equivalence!

  • NotNowJohnny

    As I said previously, if you have already decided that any gesture of outreach by Sinn Fein isn’t a gesture of outreach even if it looks, walks and talks like a gesture of outreach, then obviously you’re never going to agree that any sort of outreach has taken place.

  • PeterBrown

    If you see something as outreach which does not in fact involve outreach then you are never going to agree outreach has not yet taken place….it may just be that we differ about what outreach means but in any event there is no equivalence between them.

  • hgreen

    Won’t anyone think of the base? While SF are navel gazing everyone else suffers.

  • Granni Trixie

    But if sf aren’t there to try to deliver…. They can’t absolve themselves from responsibility but I suppose they are, in their own way, admitting they were not up to the job of gOvernment.

  • Granni Trixie

    So you think SF would have agreed to the SDLP for the Justice ministry?

  • Granni Trixie

    You will have to explain “unionist control of policing” to me. Surely You will agree that the Patton reforms were a huge concession for Unionists to agree to ( from their POV, not mine).

  • NotNowJohnny

    I have no idea. I know they previously supported an SDLP DFM. The point is that they ageeed to a unionist justice minister.

  • NotNowJohnny

    Control of policing and justice as regards being in control of the department with responsibility for policing and justice. While the powers of the minister can only be exercised in the context of the power sharing agreement, symbolically this is important to both unionists and nationalists hence the special arrangements which apply to the filling of the justice ministry. I dont disagree with your point about Patton but I’m not sure what your point is here.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    When times are hard wheel old Danny out to talk about the base. All smoke and mirrors ! The truth is SF are behind the black ball after the DUP going into government with the Tories. They overplayed their hand on the red line issues and Unionism will let them hang on it with Direct Rule. The bigger question which Danny should be asking is how long the base will hold as Northern Ireland hits its centenary under Direct Rule with Unionism riding the horse from London ?

  • Glenn

    Now it’s the civil servants fault nothing to do with the blonde or her puppet masters. It’s the Unionists fault, its the Secretary of States fault, its the British governments fault, its the Americans fault and now its the civil servants fault. The only people they have not blamed are those who they see in the mirror with they’re putting on their make-up…..

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/sinn-feins-oneill-slams-civil-servants-over-cuts-to-northern-ireland-health-service-36070000.html

  • Morrison pulls the usual trick of ‘sectarianising’.
    Those who voted for Sinn Fein are becoming increasingly disillusioned. As are those who voted for the DUP.
    SF and the DUP depend absolutely for their power on maintaining a split in the working class. Neverending toing and froing within the sectarian parameters set down by London, Dublin and the DUP/SF duopoly is wearing very, very thin with working people who are struggling every day just to get by; and who are seriously concerned by the descent into military mayhem and threat of nuclear war by the Imperialists.
    Working people of the world are crying out for concerted leadership and political action to end the misery of capitalist economics and war.
    Meanwhile Morrison, cynically seeing Catholic workers as belonging to SF – his “base”, is mirrored by Foster et al who similarly believe they own Protestant workers.
    SF and the DUP are equally culpable in the maintaining the sectarian trap.