Northern Ireland's assembly is working again

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Fishnut
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Northern Ireland's assembly is working again

Post by Fishnut » Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:15 pm

After three years, Northern Ireland has a government again. Arlene Foster has been elected as first minister and all five main parties are participating.

It'll be interesting to see how they respond to Brexit given that Northern Ireland is a major sticking point. On Friday the Institute for Government published a report called "Getting Brexit Done. What happens now?" which says,
The government will almost certainly be unable to implement the Northern Ireland Protocol by December 2020. This could result in the UK being taken to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and cause practical and political disruption in Northern Ireland. The Protocol involves complex customs arrangements and regulatory and customs checks between Northern Ireland and Great Britain – but key details are yet to be decided by the Joint Committee established in the Withdrawal Agreement and not yet up and running. The deal has the support of no Northern Irish political parties and it looks almost impossible to complete the practical changes, for government and business, by the end of the year. Failure to comply with the Withdrawal Agreement could see the European Commission begin infringement proceedings and the UK ending up at the ECJ. [My emphasis, p3]
So at least that's one thing all sides of the assembly can agree on.

The Guardian has a summary of the report but the thing that strikes me most is how blunt it is with its language. There's no cautious optimism, it's words like "impossible" and "undeliverable". It sounds to me like people trying to ensure that they aren't the ones taking the fall when everything goes tits up.
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Fishnut
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Re: Northern Ireland's assembly is working again

Post by Fishnut » Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:20 pm

And now Johnson is refusing to say whether he'll honour the funding commitments made to NI,
Johnson deflected questions about a promised financial package for public services and infrastructure, saying devolution was about leadership, not money... Northern Ireland’s political parties signed up to power-sharing last week partly on the basis of significant Treasury transfers, with Sinn Féin mooting £1.5bn and the Democratic Unionist party floating £2bn.
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Re: Northern Ireland's assembly is working again

Post by jimbob » Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:20 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:20 pm
And now Johnson is refusing to say whether he'll honour the funding commitments made to NI,
Johnson deflected questions about a promised financial package for public services and infrastructure, saying devolution was about leadership, not money... Northern Ireland’s political parties signed up to power-sharing last week partly on the basis of significant Treasury transfers, with Sinn Féin mooting £1.5bn and the Democratic Unionist party floating £2bn.
I'm trying to work out if I can shoehorn an "E" into the end of the name of the Democratic Unionist Party
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

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Re: Northern Ireland's assembly is working again

Post by Gfamily » Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:18 pm

jimbob wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:20 pm
Fishnut wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:20 pm
And now Johnson is refusing to say whether he'll honour the funding commitments made to NI,
Johnson deflected questions about a promised financial package for public services and infrastructure, saying devolution was about leadership, not money... Northern Ireland’s political parties signed up to power-sharing last week partly on the basis of significant Treasury transfers, with Sinn Féin mooting £1.5bn and the Democratic Unionist party floating £2bn.
I'm trying to work out if I can shoehorn an "E" into the end of the name of the Democratic Unionist Party
There's always the Democratic Unionist Party Executive, I'm sure they would have been involved in the discussions
My avatar was a scientific result that was later found to be 'mistaken' - I rarely claim to be 100% correct
ETA 5/8/20: I've been advised that the result was correct, it was the initial interpretation that needed to be withdrawn
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Re: Northern Ireland's assembly is working again

Post by jimbob » Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:24 pm

That'll work for me on all levels, Gfamily
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

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Re: Northern Ireland's assembly is working again

Post by Pucksoppet » Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:51 am

I don't know enough about NI politics ( or ROI politics ) even to make a smart-arse comment, so I won't.

I hope NI ends up in a good place.

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Re: Northern Ireland's assembly is working again

Post by cvb » Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:58 am

Pucksoppet wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:51 am
I don't know enough about NI politics ( or ROI politics ) even to make a smart-arse comment, so I won't.

I hope NI ends up in a good place.
Unfortunately they are mostly a bunch of sectarian a..holes, on both sides. I have personal experience of dealing with some of them and it is not edifying. Petty and stupid are some of the nicer comments I would have for them, again both sides.

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Re: Northern Ireland's assembly is working again

Post by IvanV » Mon Nov 07, 2022 3:57 pm

Anyone got any ideas on how to get it working again? Or is it doomed, and we need a different idea for how to govern Northern Ireland?

According to the rules, they have to have an election within 12 weeks of 28 October. An early proposal for a December election was abandoned. But it doesn't seem likely that in any election the DUP will do so badly as to lose the effective veto they are currently appear to have.

During the 2002-2007 suspension, a required election was somehow postponed beyond the required date and eventually held in late 2003. But it didn't help. It took until 2006 to get the parties to agree to go back into government. Then Westminster had to pass specific legislation in 2006 to restart the assembly in 2007.

During the 2017-2020 suspension, Westminster passed legislation for NI on same-sex marriage and abortion that both SF and DUP opposed. This may have helped encourage them back into the assembly. Would something similar help this time? Westminster passes Irish Language legislation?

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Re: Northern Ireland's assembly is working again

Post by IvanV » Mon Jan 22, 2024 4:16 pm

There's an analysis article in the Byline Times (them that broke the Dan Wootton story) about the current closure of the Northern Ireland Assembly, suggesting that the present closure is more intractable than the previous ones.

Tldr: The DUP will never allow it the Assembly to operate with a republican first minister. The DUP didn't support the Good Friday Agreement that brought the present form of NIA into existence, yet in practice they have a veto against it operating. Meanwhile the British government is being useless about it, failing to appreciate the intractability of the present situation. Times change, and there be a process to allow the evolution of rules of governance.

Personally, I think that the mess in Northern Ireland is essentially the fault of the British over the course of the centuries, and therefore we do have a responsibility to facilitate a resolution of disputes. I agree with the article that the government's present inaction is an abdication of responsibility.

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Re: Northern Ireland's assembly is working again

Post by Sciolus » Mon Jan 22, 2024 9:00 pm

IvanV wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2024 4:16 pm
The DUP will never allow it the Assembly to operate with a republican first minister.
Indeed, and it's worth remembering that the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister have exactly the same powers, the only difference is the title. Just to appreciate how stunningly petty the DUP are.

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Re: Northern Ireland's assembly is working again

Post by IvanV » Tue Jan 23, 2024 9:51 am

Sciolus wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2024 9:00 pm
IvanV wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2024 4:16 pm
The DUP will never allow it the Assembly to operate with a republican first minister.
Indeed, and it's worth remembering that the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister have exactly the same powers, the only difference is the title. Just to appreciate how stunningly petty the DUP are.
In terms of their own objectives, what they do is rational and self-interested. For seemingly cutting your nose off despite your face is a strong signal of political rectitude, which is necessary for survival in the DUP. Even slight signs of compromise is why Poots didn't last long. That's not to approve of it, but to understand it.

In the mean time, we need a political system that can cope with the divisions that exist, recognising that in a polarised situation people will behave in such a fashion.

One of the suggestions in the article I quoted was removing the distinction between first and deputy minister, because, as you say, in practice the only difference is the title. But to achieve that, you need a process to achieve that, and a system of agreeing it. That's what we don't have at the moment. And there is no way of achieving change without the intervention of Britain, in the same way that GFA would not have come about without explicit external intervention.

The GFA was a big step forward, but it doesn't look like a final destination.

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Re: Northern Ireland's assembly is working again

Post by Woodchopper » Tue Jan 30, 2024 8:02 am


The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has agreed a deal to restore power sharing to Northern Ireland, subject to legislation by the UK government.

[…]

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson says he believes the deal would safeguard Northern Ireland's place within the UK and crucially from the DUP's point of view, would remove checks on goods moving within the UK and remaining in Northern Ireland.
https://news.sky.com/story/dup-agrees-d ... d-13059737

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Re: Northern Ireland's assembly is working again

Post by TopBadger » Tue Jan 30, 2024 3:31 pm

Should we start a sweepstake on how long it will be until they throw another tantrum and withdraw from the assembly?
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Re: Northern Ireland's assembly is working again

Post by Gfamily » Tue Jan 30, 2024 5:06 pm

TopBadger wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2024 3:31 pm
Should we start a sweepstake on how long it will be until they throw another tantrum and withdraw from the assembly?
I don't think they're planning on starting until UKG have made all the adjustments they require first. So it may never actually resume.
My avatar was a scientific result that was later found to be 'mistaken' - I rarely claim to be 100% correct
ETA 5/8/20: I've been advised that the result was correct, it was the initial interpretation that needed to be withdrawn
Meta? I'd say so!

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Re: Northern Ireland's assembly is working again

Post by dyqik » Tue Jan 30, 2024 6:52 pm

Gfamily wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2024 5:06 pm
TopBadger wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2024 3:31 pm
Should we start a sweepstake on how long it will be until they throw another tantrum and withdraw from the assembly?
I don't think they're planning on starting until UKG have made all the adjustments they require first. So it may never actually resume.
I was going to put myself down for "Tuesday". Not any particular Tuesday, of course.

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Re: Northern Ireland's assembly is working again

Post by Woodchopper » Tue Jan 30, 2024 7:29 pm

Gfamily wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2024 5:06 pm
TopBadger wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2024 3:31 pm
Should we start a sweepstake on how long it will be until they throw another tantrum and withdraw from the assembly?
I don't think they're planning on starting until UKG have made all the adjustments they require first. So it may never actually resume.
The EU has offered some fudge. So it looks like there’s been a deal.

“The Commission has today adopted a proposal setting out a new EU-UK joint solution under the Windsor Framework regarding the use of tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) by Northern Ireland businesses.”
https://ec.europa.eu/commission/pressco ... /ip_24_565

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Re: Northern Ireland's assembly is working again

Post by Gfamily » Tue Jan 30, 2024 8:19 pm

Woodchopper wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2024 7:29 pm
Gfamily wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2024 5:06 pm
TopBadger wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2024 3:31 pm
Should we start a sweepstake on how long it will be until they throw another tantrum and withdraw from the assembly?
I don't think they're planning on starting until UKG have made all the adjustments they require first. So it may never actually resume.
The EU has offered some fudge. So it looks like there’s been a deal.

“The Commission has today adopted a proposal setting out a new EU-UK joint solution under the Windsor Framework regarding the use of tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) by Northern Ireland businesses.”
https://ec.europa.eu/commission/pressco ... /ip_24_565
OK, so back to 'Tuesday'
My avatar was a scientific result that was later found to be 'mistaken' - I rarely claim to be 100% correct
ETA 5/8/20: I've been advised that the result was correct, it was the initial interpretation that needed to be withdrawn
Meta? I'd say so!

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Re: Northern Ireland's assembly is working again

Post by Martin_B » Tue Jan 30, 2024 11:54 pm

dyqik wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2024 6:52 pm
Gfamily wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2024 5:06 pm
TopBadger wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2024 3:31 pm
Should we start a sweepstake on how long it will be until they throw another tantrum and withdraw from the assembly?
I don't think they're planning on starting until UKG have made all the adjustments they require first. So it may never actually resume.
I was going to put myself down for "Tuesday". Not any particular Tuesday, of course.
I'll go for Tuesday 9th July. They'll want to leave before the 12th July, so that they can celebrate "taking back mumble, mumble" in their big paradeTM.
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Re: Northern Ireland's assembly is working again

Post by IvanV » Wed Jan 31, 2024 10:30 am

Woodchopper wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2024 7:29 pm
Gfamily wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2024 5:06 pm
TopBadger wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2024 3:31 pm
Should we start a sweepstake on how long it will be until they throw another tantrum and withdraw from the assembly?
I don't think they're planning on starting until UKG have made all the adjustments they require first. So it may never actually resume.
The EU has offered some fudge. So it looks like there’s been a deal.

“The Commission has today adopted a proposal setting out a new EU-UK joint solution under the Windsor Framework regarding the use of tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) by Northern Ireland businesses.”
https://ec.europa.eu/commission/pressco ... /ip_24_565
It's been reported by some commentators that the DUP were also looking for a way out of the current impasse without losing face, as it is actually damaging their voter support. There's some horrible effects of the current shut-down, in particular inability to deal with a lot of stuff their voters are complaining about, like wage increases for certain public sector employees, which Westminster is happy to reinforce as an arm-twister, because it is holding back some of the money they'd otherwise automatically get to pay for it. And Westminster is willing to add some further bribe on top if they do go back into Stormont. Doubtless Westminster will, like the DUP, have some sort of not-until-you-do-it-properly-and-for-more-than-10-minutes enforcement mechanism in the release of the money, that the DUP is applying to what Westminster has offered.

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