They can’t both be right, can they?

10 12 2008

After the devolution of policing and justice was discussed at today’s OFMDFM Committee:

Attwood said: “Either the Prime Minister’s claim is right or it is not. If it is, all the better. If it is not, then the claim is wildly optimistic, given that Sinn Fein have handed the DUP a veto in the Assembly and in the country about when devolution can happen.”

Kennedy said: “The fact is that the Prime Minister let the cat out of the bag last week when he said the transfer of policing and justice powers would be “in a few months”, shows that it is Sinn Fein who really are driving this process. The DUP need to explain to the Unionist electorate how this equates to a political lifetime.”

SF rolled over by DUP? Or DUP rolled over by SF?

Mmmm… it’s all so confusing. They can’t be both be right, can they?

Ah who the hell knows, but they are certainly wrong to go down this route. Neither are damaging their intended targets, and are in effect assisting the lead party from the other side.

The UUP complaint endorses the negotiating skills of SF (rolled over the DUP on political lifetime stuff); and the SDLP complaint endorses the negotiating skills of the DUP (for vetos etc).

These endorsements are bound to turn up in manifestos. Like page 18 of the DUP’s 2005 manifesto! (And check out all those crazee commitments! Really enjoyed a review of the ‘entry to government’ bit.)

SDLP – the devolution of policing and justice is coming. You are in favour of this. Join the winning team and make warm noises on its imminent arrival. (This was a good start. But why no attempt made to develop this positively?)

UUP – the devolution of policing and justice is coming. You are in favour of this. Stop protesting its arrival.

Complaining about negotiating ability is beyond dated, it’s beyond irrelevant. Because no one is listening to you. Too much is going wrong for anyone to care about hoards of Canutes protesting wherever the tide of change is coming in fastest. Especially when all the main parties are in favour of devolving policing and justice.

The ol’ Obama poetry of hope, change and progress are closer to the public mood. The DUP and SF will surely deliver change (in terms of policing & justice) to a chorus of opposition from ‘moderate’ parties, and applause from major external power brokers. When this happens, the ‘moderate’ parties, once so central to success, will have journeyed outwards to the fringes of broader opinion. Both parties could find themselves completely outmanoeuvred by the Spring time.

For the SDLP, the old Hume optimism and trust in intrinsic goodness of people has well… fallen lower than sterling. Chin up for chrissakes!

For the UUP, stop it. Already Reg is sounding like Jim Allister. And, as the Conservatives favour devolution of policing and justice, you are courting a PR catastrophe. As Dave told the UUP conference on Saturday:

The agreement that’s been reached on the process for the transfer of policing and justice powers is welcome.

The UUP must calm down and make this their George Osborne issue (ie. the issue they won’t let near the media). Otherwise it will muddy the waters – it creates a gap the DUP love to exploit.

Nope. Instead the UUP are placing themselves on a collision course with Conservatives by issuing statements demanding the media set up concession-watch (again this is beyond dated, beyond irrelevant).

But no doubt when their complaints do not make an impact the SDLP and UUP will think that it’s because they were not robust enough with their complaints in the first instance. And then they shall complain harder… and so the Groundhog Day cycle continues.




One response

13 12 2008
Lord Melchett

A bit like the Belfast Agreement:

‘Providing us with the stepstones to Unity’, or ‘Securing the Union with Great Britain’

I just think that Her Majesties Government should have brought in military rule…but some may argue that we were for some 8 centuries.

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