The Stormont Talks Failure. Britain Swaps EU Rule For DUP Rule?

She came, she saw, she fucked off home. That summed up yesterday’s visit by Theresa May, the United Kingdom’s crisis-prone prime minister, to her country’s colonial outpost across the Irish Sea. Along with Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, both heads of government dropped in to Belfast to stamp their imprimatur on a likely deal between Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionist Party to restore the power-sharing regional assembly at Stormont. And both went away empty-handed, even Fine Gael’s notorious prince of smooth failing to make much of an impression on the pugnacious DUP boss, Arlene Foster, and her coterie of pro-union hardliners.

While the signs had been promising earlier in the day, with whispers of an imminent agreement, the Dupes pulled the plug on the potential sign-off, believing that Irish and British officials were attempting to bounce them into excessive concessions on SF’s progressive agenda on language rights, equal marriage and so on.

From the Guardian newspaper in the UK:

Theresa May has left Northern Ireland without a deal that would have seen the restoration of power-sharing government in the region.

The prime minister and the Irish taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, had travelled to Belfast on Monday hoping that the main parties represented in the Stormont assembly would reach a compromise ending 13 months of political deadlock.

But for the second time in less than a year the Democratic Unionist party kept May waiting. The party held out for a deal over several weeks last summer with the prime minister and the Tories that kept May in Downing Street after the general election. That eventually resulted in the DUP’s confidence and supply arrangement with the Tories, which still shores up the minority Conservative government.

On Monday the DUP was holding out on another deal May was seeking, this time involving compromises over Sinn Féin’s demands for an Irish language act that would lead to the resurrection of a cross-community government in Belfast.

DUP sources said there was still grave disquiet over any deal that could be perceived as the party supporting a stand-alone Irish language act that would put Gaelic on the same legal status as English throughout Northern Ireland.

It seems that Arlene Foster and the DUP in Belfast are the people calling the political shots in the United Kingdom, not the elected government or parties in London.

 

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9 comments

  1. Arlene Foster did say something about there being “no ILA on her watch”. There are noises that the grassroots isn’t at all happy with the idea of a stand-alone ILA. Arlene also has the RHI scandal to deal with; she’s expected to give evidence to the Inquiry soon. Does this all mean something about her position?

        1. I’m not sure. I think she is consolidating her “hard woman” image with the DUP foot soldiers, especially those sceptical of her background outside the party faithful. The ILA and related liberal matters seem to be a DUP redline. And one she agrees with.

    1. It’s real “cold war” early 2000s’ stuff from the DUP, isn’t it? We’re going back years in terms of relations. The DUP is playing hardball, thinking that a Hard Brexit will make all this talk about talks academic.

      1. The DUP will never willingly accept equality
        Their raison d’etre is supremacy. Fuck them Mary lou . Walk away. Why prop up a decrepit little statelet

  2. Ok, sigh, here we go again. just when you think it cannot get worse, it gets worse. i really am fed up with the DUP, which should be spelt DUPes. Those who do not understand history are doomed to repeat it. Now they are repeating it. It is now very clear, that absent a miraculous event, the Uk is going to sever itself from the EU in April 2019 and it will be a very hard BREXIT. Out unto the wilderness, and the cold realities of the outside world, alone. Already the japanese Ambassador has delivered a FATWA to the Uk Government, explaining that unless something can be salvaged, the major Japanese companies are leaving, en-mass, next year. Bang go a 100,00 jobs in the mainland. Much else, from other foreign corporations. It is like watching the Titanic in its death throws. It has to be said: The politics of the UK are now the politics of the Titanic. So the EU will insist on a hard border, (its rthe rules, if Ireland wants to stay in the EU. If that happens, then the Noerth will drop to the level of a third world country, within five years. During that time, we will have to watch the Democratic unionist and monster raving loony party sink like a well known ocean liner. Dragged down with it, will be both communities in the North, and whats left of the so-called “Peace agreement.”. I give it a couple of years, then the war will start again, out of sheer desperation. The Dublin government has absolutely got to be utterly intransigent, and to maake it clear they will relentlessly VETO the BREXIT agreement, unless and until the BREXIT deal is to their satisfaction. They also need to make serious contingency plans for a flood of returning irish citizens from the UK, after BREXIT. The legal status and security of irish people resident in England is going to be seriously at risk. Anybody got any ideas, while we wait for war to start?

    1. The mood music coming out of Dublin is pretty downbeat. Looks like the focus may shift to East-West arrangements, bypassing Stormont. However, the British seem lukewarm on the idea. More stasis to follow.

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