Is it too late to transfer James Brokenshire?

Schools back.

There is much talk already about the inevitability of Direct Rule and the fact that the talks are “going nowhere”.

Let’s just wait for the parties to get their feet back under the desks and see how the land lies now that the summer is over.

Something does need to change though, if the same formula is applied over and over why expect a different result? The management of the talks by James Brokenshire has hardly been Premier League. A chair with some charisma and drive wouldn’t go amiss (and a bit more neutrality).

The positive that remains is that the parties, for all their differences, wish to see the Assembly restored. No-one wants to see Direct Rule bar it seems some within the DUP MP team.

The clock is ticking however. With the RHI Inquiry hearings beginning in October how long will it be before we see Arlene Foster at the foot of the Committee table in the Senate being grilled about everything from conversations with Jonathan Bell to her own economic prowess whilst in DETI?

How will the Inquiry impact on public opinion and do the public want to see Foster being returned to the post of First Minister while questions remain unanswered?

One wonders if we need to see the RHI Inquiry completed or at the very least Arlene Foster questioned on our TV screens before a deal becomes possible?

As weeks go by there will be more frustration as policy decisions that cannot be signed off on will increase. The DUP will try and use this against Sinn Féin, but to substitute this position for their own responsibility to reach a deal with other parties is foolhardy.

Matters seem to be coming to a head but not just yet. And sometimes as things come to a head the impossible becomes just possible.

Direct Rule by the Tories sponsored by the DUP (informally or not) is simply not an option as far as nationalists and republicans are concerned and the political consequences of that would be significant. Unionists are no longer a majority in the Assembly so why should this default position continue to reflect this? Nationalists can now rightly argue that a joint-oversight of the North by the two governments should be the default position given the fact there is a unionist minority and a nationalist minority in the Assembly.

Perhaps someone could send a copy of Einstein’s definition of insanity to Stormont House this Monday morning. A change in tack and an indication from both the Irish and British Governments that they are taking the process more seriously would certainly help.

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  • Dan2

    (removed the comment myself. Save the moderation team the bother)

  • Pang

    Has NI not all ready returned to direct rule? Maybe there is some official version of direct rule that is not formally in place, but if the executive is not in place then I assume the Brokenprovince is running the gaf.

  • Granni Trixie

    Instead of calling for someone new to keep order becuase they can’t behave responsibly, Daithi would be better trying to exert influence within SF to get them to be less intransigent.

  • ted hagan

    I don’t see the point in articles by the likes of ‘commentators’ Daithi McKay and Nelson McCausland.
    It’s like reading Pravda.

  • mac tire

    The SDLP have questioned Brokenshire’s participation. Alliance have done the same.
    Will you be going to Alliance, Granni, to exert influence within Alliance to get them to be less intransigent?

  • With the RHI Inquiry hearings beginning in October …

    1. So the hope is the hearings will damage the DUP
    2. Another round of elections
    3. DUP ousted by UUP?

  • Granni Trixie

    Like any member ofcourse I try to have input. Also as compromise is a both a value and practice there are few red lines. Infact the only one which comes to mind is nonviolence.

  • mac tire

    So you find Alliance’s position intransigent?

  • Granni Trixie

    Pragmatic is the word I would use.
    (Don’t be smart alecky)

  • William Kinmont

    If we must have a Secretary of State which for the foreseable i expect we must .We have also to accept a Tory one. No one has suggested who they would like to approach Mrs May for in the transfer window ,, i would suggest Rory Stewart his cv has all the alien Tory toff stuff we would expect and more but his education and experience in tribal matters is genuine.
    I have witnessed first hand his ability to deal at ground level with ordinary folk during the floods in cumbria.Making pragmatic decisions in a crisis.
    His surname too might add a tiny bit of doubt into the ussuns /themuns attitude.

  • mac tire

    Apologies, I just thought that you would have thought Alliance intransigent if you view SF as intransigent, considering they on the same page on many of the issues.

  • Granni Trixie

    You are right – On a case by case basis Alliance has indeed been on the same page as Sf on issues (as with other parties on occasion).

  • mac tire

    Indeed. So, I’m wondering where the intransigence comes in to it, Granni.

  • Granni Trixie

    It’s blindingly obvious as I’m sure you know – with power comes responsibility and SF (like the DUP) has the power to get Stormont up and running, the smaller parties cannot. SF alone is demonstrating to me at least that it doesn’t want to do that. Selfish.

  • mac tire

    But neither the Greens, SDLP or Alliance want an Assembly up and running if it’s gonna collapse over these issues again(which they all agree on with SF). There is absolutely no point in establishing the institutions again just to get them up and running; they need to be sustainable.
    The DUP want the institutions back up and to talk about these things and if no agreement is reached, the institutions fall. What is the point in that? Let’s do it now.
    The Assembly could be up and running soon enough – Unionism has to talk to the other parties about these issues the latter want addressed – yours included, Granni.

  • Granni Trixie

    Like many I do not know quite how ILA came to be centre stage.it’s not about what it’s about. Lack of trust and respect probably. But the way to address that is to recognise mistakes and work at relationships. From my reading to go back in APNI would prioritise reforms to Governence e.g. POC, transparency etc.

  • mac tire

    Well you mention reforms – I’m with you on that. And we both allude to trust and respect. And yes, it appears an ILA is the “personification” of those things.
    So Alliance would like to see some things changed before they go back. And so, too, do SDLP and SF – and all reasonable asks. Nothing intransigent about that.
    We may be on different paragraphs, Granni, but we are certainly on the same page. Intransigence would be holding out against those reasonable things.

  • runnymede

    ‘Direct Rule by the Tories sponsored by the DUP (informally or not) is simply not an option as far as nationalists and republicans are concerned’

    You have created this situation, and it is entirely within your power to uncreate it. But of course you don’t want to as grievance politics is still what it’s all about for you.

  • Jeff

    Very true Yes, but it does serve to highlight the narrow thinking on both sides

  • Georgie Best

    Living in a sectarian state set up to advantage one group over the other, there are grievances to be addressed. When will they be? Why should they not be?

  • runnymede

    It really isn’t 1969 you know.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Transfer James Brokenshire … he may be poor but he’s a step up from Theresa Villiers!

  • Sean Danaher

    The difficulty is that the current bunch of Tories are the least talented in my 60+ year lifetime. I may not have agreed with Thatcher but boy she was formidable and had a very talented cabinet and pool of people to draw upon.

  • Kevin Breslin

    To be fair in your lifetime the least talented Tories joined or formed UKIP, winging complaining agitpropers that the rich aren’t rich enough… Sorry too many migrants I mean (previous applies). Neill Hamilton doesn’t even have the talent to not get caught.

    The government is not that bad… Yet.