Tuesday 12 January 2010

Painted into a corner

If the DUP thought that their stonewalling was going to somehow allow them to excape from the transfer of policing and justice, they were wrong.

Despite everything – particularly the salacious revelations about Iris Robinson's private life and apparent financial dealings – the two governments remain firm on the need for rapid progress on the transfer of policing and justice.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen yesterday said:

"I welcome [Peter Robinson's] decision to continue to work on the crucial issue of devolution of policing and justice and his commitment to a successful resolution." […] "… I also fully recognise the duty of everyone, including the two governments, to protect the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement and to ensure that they continue to develop and to serve the community. I believe it is now essential that there is swift progress, in the coming days, on the devolution of policing and justice. That is in the interests of all of the parties and all of the people they represent."

Note 'in the coming days' … not in six weeks time, or after the Westminster elections.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, in a statement reported by the BBC today said:

"I urge all politicians in Northern Ireland, whatever the turbulence of recent events, to remain focused on the business of government, and to recognise the crucial importance of intensifying engagement in those issues which remain to be solved."

'Those issues which remain to be solved' can, of course, be summed up in two words – policing and justice.

There is simply nowhere else for the DUP to run. They have painted themselves further and further into a corner, losing friends and confusing observers. They picked a battle that they thought was winnable, but it isn't. No-one supports their position, outside the predictable tribalists of the TUV and the UUP. The rest of the world simply sees an increasingly irrational reactionary party struggling to avoid the inevitable. The DUP would do themselves, and the whole of Northern Ireland, a favour by swallowing this and moving on. Frankly, from their point oif vies, compared with sharing power with Sinn Féin, it is a small step. Take it now.


Dazzler said...

Apparently there were lenghty discussions yesterday and are continuing on today on the issue.

If the governments position is hardending on the DUP could they tell the DUP that if the executive collapses they will not stall an assembley election. This would give the DUP the choice of agreeing a date for the devolution of policing and justice or facing the electorate in a months time where they would surely suffer huge losses.

Anonymous said...

No offence mate, but if The DUP are seen to do anything else in their own self interest, they will be wiped off the map.

Scots Anorak said...

Devolution of policing and justice is NOT the only issue to be resolved. For this person at least, an Irish language Act is a good deal more important and will make much more of a tangible difference in daily life.