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The Stormont blame game… January 12, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Newton Emerson’s latest column on the collapse of the Executive at Stormont is interesting, as much for what is not said as what is. But when he writes that:
McGuinness may be leaving office with his dignity intact, and many in Sinn Féin will relish the firmer line to come, but his departure still represents failure for all sides in Northern Ireland….
truth is that the actual thrust of what he says places the blame firmly at the door of the DUP and not just Arlene Foster. Indeed for those of us used to his rather sneering comments about SF over the years the tone and substance of this piece is something of a surprise.

Sinn Féin made sincere efforts for weeks, at risk to its own credibility, to avoid bringing the Executive down.

It is clear from McGuinness’s letter, not to mention from observation, that Foster’s personal conduct tipped things over the edge.
Under pressure from the anger of Sinn Féin’s own constituents, McGuinness has had no choice but to pull the plug.

He says he has done so with deep regret and reluctance, and that is entirely believable.


Whatever street games both sides were playing in that first tense summer after the flag protests, the Maze centre was a long-term project, painstakingly worked out in Robinson and McGuinness’s office. It had only just commenced when the DUP leader pulled the plug in disrespectfully temperamental fashion, by late-night email from his Florida holiday home.


Quite specific promises made to Sinn Féin at St Andrews, such as an Irish-language act, were put on permanent hold.


McGuinness has challenged republicans and nationalists with his outreach to unionists, only to be frustrated when he felt this was not reciprocated.


McGuinness has fulfilled his role as deputy first minister for 10 years in good faith.

Of course Emerson is no fan of the DUP but this is striking.

Furthermore one name does not appear – that being one I. Paisley. No one would accuse him of being an emollient figure but contrasted with Robinson and particularly Foster his tenure appears more rather than less constructive – words I never thought I’d write.

And Emerson makes one incontrovertible point to conclude:

Once again, unionists are about to be taught the lesson they never learn: deal with nationalism now, or get a worse deal later.


1. RosencrantzisDead - January 12, 2017

There is a school of thought that holds hard-line have an easier time making concessions because they have become the very embodiment of the hard-line. There might be some truth for this for Paisley Snr.. His electoral position being unassailable also helped.

Foster and Robinson had more to prove, I think, or at least had to avoid accusations of betraying the Rev. Ian’s legacy.

Liked by 1 person

GW - January 12, 2017

Good point about Paisley.

That’s a generally applicable rule of thumb – expect more concessions from those whose position is secure and not much from the insecure.

I wonder what sort of relations the Unionist and the current one-track (Brexit from an English perpecitve) Tory government have. I wouldn’t think May will welcome political complications in the North at this juncture.


sonofstan - January 12, 2017

Another aspect might be that Adams/ McGunness and Paisley had all being though far more challenging situations that FMQ at the assembly.


WorldbyStorm - January 12, 2017

Very true


WorldbyStorm - January 12, 2017
2. roddy - January 12, 2017

Paisley’s son kyle is a church minister in England and is remarkably moderate in his pronouncements on the internet and elsewhere.He displays an unbelievable level of tolerance and respect considering his background.


GW - January 12, 2017

Is that the Grandson of I. Paisley or another son, Roddy?


3. deiseach - January 12, 2017

It’s telling that there isn’t a single comment* BTL in that piece along the lines of “yeah, but what about Kingsmill?” When even the usual IT suspects can’t muster an attempt to deflect attention onto themmuns, things must be really bad.

*not at the time of writing anyway


4. roddy - January 12, 2017

Kyle is a son.


5. ivorthorne - January 12, 2017

Foster and her acolytes have tried to use the old whataboutery approach and it’s just not working. Their excuse that the minister in charge of something shouldn’t understand the detail of the legislation they’re putting through is somewhat idiotic. It’s costing hundreds of millions! Their excuses just are not working and their attempts to distract and deflect do not work.

SF have – for the most part – played fair with the DUP. Foster really does seem to have thought that she could get away with just doing what she wanted and there would be no consequence. Her characteristic poor judgement and selfishness have brought down the executive.


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