While we’re waiting for the results of the Catalonia Referendum
(out tomorrow, Monday 1oth)
let’s have a look at what’s happening in NI with the famous 2nd set of talks
involving a senior US Statesman as American Envoy
Who started these talks?
The UK government
Our lovely SOS said
“There is a general recognition that we can’t go on as we are.”
Like last year?
No. This year it’s different
Is it really?
Probably not. Unionists who scuppered the Haass talks are quite capable of scuppering these too.
They have a history of doing what they want, not what the UK government wants.
What are the talks for?
Finding a consensus on Orange Order-induced wrangles such as flags, parades and the legacy of the past.
Addressing Orange Order-stalled implementation of the GFA and following treaties.
So what’s happened?
The American Envoy’s gone back home!
He spoke to everyone and made non-committal remarks about the USA
not being able to impose a solution to the deadlock.
He suggested he might be back to say
“If things stalemated something like that might be helpful” he said
What do other people think?
Alliance MP Ms Naomi Long
“ the whole business is shambolic”
What’s the problem?
There is no more money for NI but Mr Cameron would look favourably on any proposals
The UK government is worried about several EU developments.
1) Nils Muiznieks, the Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights insisted the UK Government had a responsibility to pay for effective investigations of killings involving the security forces.
“Failure to do so would be in breach of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR)”.
Under the terms of Article 2 of the ECHR, the UK authorities have a duty to ensure that the investigations of deaths are independent, effective and prompt.
That’s not been happening, has it?
No, and now the Historical Enquiries Team,
which wasn’t a great success anyway, is being shut down
What else are they worried about?
2) Several potential legal challenges from relatives bereaved during the Troubles for allegedly failing to properly investigate historic killings.
3) A major EU report on its funding to Northern Ireland bemoaned Peter Robinson’s U-turn on the Maze peace centre, which has scuppered what senior European officials believed could have become a major EU initiative.
What did our lovely SOS say?
“These are matters of policing and justice, they are devolved, so the first call for funding any new institutions should be Northern Ireland’s block grant, which continues to be higher per head in Northern Ireland than it is anywhere else in the UK, so it continues to recognise the particular circumstances faced in Northern Ireland,” .
What do the Unionists think?
They’re jetting off to Brussels to whip up support for the Unionist cause
They said that they would brief leaders at the European Parliament on “the state of play in Northern Ireland”
and issues which are of concern to unionists.
“I look forward to presenting a unionist perspective and engaging with those who have an interest in Northern Ireland.
“There are times when unionists have underestimated the need to spread our message around the world.
We have a great story to tell”.
I will emphasise that unionism “does not stand as an opponent of progress”.
“Unionism must go the extra mile to ensure our position is both understood and accepted”
“We go with two closely tied objectives:
1) to make the pro-Union case, in a positive and confident manner;
Comment: We’ll tell the EU themmuns get everything and we gat nahim
“2) to counter the propaganda of Sinn Fein, a party that signed an agreement to respect Northern Ireland’s constitutional status as part of the United Kingdom, but then cannot even manage to afford the courtesy of using the country’s name”
What does Sinn Fein want?
for a timetable to implement the outstanding issues of the Good Friday Agreement.
“ for the British government to become part of the solution rather than part of the problem”
Meanwhile back in NI
Theresa Villiers insisted “the Stormont talks are progressing”.
“next week we will be intensifying the process. There was a shared recognition that we should intensify things next week”.
Queries: When the Unionists are all off on a jaunt to Brussels?
Is she hoping to sort things out behind their backs?