Power sharing in Northern Ireland
No doubt the 10 Downing Street back room staff will do all they can to present the Northern Ireland agreement as another of Gordon Brown's great achievements. Let them try. The rarefied atmosphere of the world of political people does strange things to their minds. In my part of the world I suggest it would be easier to find someone who could name, in order (see below), all the members of the saxophone family rather than find anyone willing, at length, to talk about this settlement.
Irish politics was not designed to be dull nor did it set out fascinating but evolved into a shadow of its former self. However, the fact remains it's hard going, the basic ingredients don't help either. Looking at some of the Irish politicians, religious prejudice seems natural, desirable even; how else to reward such creatures for their criminality?
As usual in Anglo-Irish matters, appeasement is the name of the game. The former gives the latter takes, always. The worrying thing is that the Muslim Council of Britain might be researching all this, you never know. The report of the talks in the Telegraph is typical and it conveys a great deal by omission. The headline is -
Gordon Brown: Northern Ireland deal 'opens new chapter'. Common sense tells us that it should read 'another new chapter', there's always another new chapter with Northern Ireland.
Also we are told -
the province's largest parties reached an agreement they said would complete the process of devolving power from London to Stormont.
Let's hope they are not too disappointed when this power eventually arrives. For while 'talks about talks', (remember those?) went on and on London gave away more powers to the EU.
Martin McGuinness, the Sinn Fein deputy first minister said: "We need to make life better for our children and grandchildren. That is what this agreement must mean in practice."
I wonder if the fear of failure kept him awake at night?
Dissident Republican groups have recently stepped up their terrorist activities, and last year killed two British soldiers in Northern Ireland. Shaun Woodward, the Northern Ireland secretary, said the deal showed the dissident view had no support, but admitted they will continue to pose a threat. He said: “They have to recognise this morning that the game is up. Regrettably, I think some of them will continue to cling to the violence of the past as the only way of resolving difficulties, but they have no community support.”
So is it all over yes or no? Woodward has not made it clear has he?
In ascending order of size - sopranino, soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, bass and contrabass.