Plausible Paul Givan and his jolly japes

Well, now that most of us have got over the heady excitement of an election prospect in  grim mid-winter, it’s maybe time to have a look at the opening jousts in the campaign (yes I know Referee Brokenshire hasn’t blown his whistle yet, but when did anything  he said or did have any real significance?)

First out of the blocks for the DUP was the well-known Gaelic footballer, Paul Givan, who in his spare time from lighting Eleventh Night bonfires does the occasional turn as the Minister for Communities. It was in this role that, on 23 December 2016, Plausible Paul sent a tweet in Irish (he is, of course, fluent in Irish as well as an All-Star Gaelic footballer) to the boards of the Gaeltacht colleges. Translated, it said “Because of efficiency savings, the department will not be providing the Liofa bursary scheme in 2017. Happy Christmas and Happy New Year”. The rumour that senior politicians in the DUP then cracked open a bottle of champagne and toasted Paul with cries of “That’ll spoil the leprechaun-speaking fenians’ Christmas dinner! Maith thú, Paul!” is not supported by any evidence of any kind.

As so often happens when somebody tries to be too smart by half, Smiling Paul’s Christmas cut triggered what had been building for months, even years: Sinn Féin in the person of Martin McGuinness said “It’s over” and an election loomed. Irish-speakers in Belfast were dearg le fearg/enraged, and announced a demonstration outside Plausible Paul’s Belfast office. Paul scratched his head and came up with a simple answer: he’d give them the money. So he sent out another tweet: “My decision on the Liofa Bursary Scheme was not a political decision. I have now identified the necessary funding to advance this scheme”.   The protest planners took all of three seconds to see that the first sentence of Plausible Paul’s tweet was, um, post-truth, and the second was, um, hilarious. They went ahead with their demonstration and made it clear that Paul’s hand-brake turn was good but not good enough. “Post-election negotiations must include the promised Irish Language Act, and that should be a red line for any political party negotiating on our behalf”.  That’s what the leaders of the demonstration said in so many words.

The DUP figured Paul had handled the Irish language funding so well, he should get out there and tell people that Sinn Féin was to blame for the coming election and that it would cost a lot of people £20 a week in bedroom tax. “Eh?” said Finance Minister Mairtin O Mulleoir. “It’ll do nothing of the sort. There will be no such bedroom tax”. Then on the BBC’s The View last night, Paul figured his giving-back-the-Gaeltacht money had been such a success, he’d do the same with the bedroom tax. “If Sinn Féin follow my lead, there will be no bedroom tax”. “Eh?” said Mairtin O Mulleoir. “You’re going to cancel a tax that wasn’t going to happen anyway?” Or words to that effect. By the end of the programme Plausible Paul’s smile was beginning to look like the rictus of an African-American at a Ku Klux Klan conference.

I suppose the DUP will have the consolation this morning that none of their MLAs or spokespeople can make a bigger bags of things than Paul, and he may even make them look good.At the same time, there are dangers in spending much time chasing fake foxes set running by the DUP. The key concern of this election which should be kept in focus throughout the campaign is the Cash-for-Ash scheme. Owing to either the incompetence or the dishonestly of two DUP Ministers, we – unionist, nationalist, republican, none of the above – are all going to be forking out our tax money to fill the half-billion-pound hole Arlene created and, with a little help from Jonathan Bell, kept running along when it should have been halted. That’s what the coming election is about. Will unionist voters see how they’ve been taken for a very, very expensive ride? Hard to say. But Sophie Long of the PUP put it well in a tweet three days ago:

“If we’d rather be robbed by a Prod than led by a Catholic then we are in trouble”.

Maith thú, Sophie.


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42 Responses to Plausible Paul Givan and his jolly japes

  1. philip kelly January 13, 2017 at 10:39 am #

    Do not forget that the DUP minister of education eradicated all English / Irish bi-lingual literature and papers from his department including all ministerial headed paper and correspondence, declaring that English is the language of Ulster or words to that effect, as he also led an attack on funding for Irish language schools
    It would seem that the the attitude of the DUP and in some cases the PSNI would love to see a return to my young days when the language was banned and if spoken in public would /could lead to a prison term at worst or a heavy fine at best, and a time when were if caught carrying a hurling stick was being in possession of an offensive weapon,

    So for me the only way to deal with this situation is for the feet of both the Irish and British governments be held to the heat off/ from one or two of the DUP and Arlene Fosters pellet boilers and the full conditions of the good friday agreement are finally implemented as voted for by all the people of Ireland. Its a fully internationally recognised agreement registered at the united nations that needs to be fulfilled once and for all by the British, the unionist, and the free state government ( Sometimes generosity and patience can be interpreted as weakness and appeasement which can be taken advantage off, I think that this week the British and unionist along with the Irish free state government found out different )

  2. michael c January 13, 2017 at 10:46 am #

    A new agenda is now starting to emerge wherby all the ills in society are being made much worse by SF collapsing Stormont.The Stoops ,Alliance etc all called for Fosters head,knowing they could do damn all about it.However when SF who were the only party who could deliver Fosters head actually did it,these opportunists lambasted them for causing a “crisis” which is making all our lives a misery!

    • Argenta January 13, 2017 at 11:35 am #

      Michael C
      Would you not agree that your party equivocated on whether to call for Arlene to step aside pending the outcome of an “investigation/inquiry”?It appears that Sinn Fein only acted when the clamour from its grassroots became deafening!Maybe as a loyal party member,you have better insights,but a lot of the general public would feel that S F were untypically slow in getting their act together on R H I.

  3. giordanobruno January 13, 2017 at 11:21 am #

    Once again the idea is mooted that this election should be all about RHI,( but only about the DUP role and lets not ask how everybody else including SF missed it).
    if the DUP are returned as the largest party they will then be able to say ‘we have been vindicated by the electorate’.
    I just don’t see how that is a good idea.

    • Michael January 13, 2017 at 11:27 am #

      It’s not ONLY about the RHI.
      Read MMcGs resignation to letter where he voices other concerns also.

      • giordanobruno January 13, 2017 at 12:41 pm #

        I am responding to Jude’s point which clearly indicates he feels it ought to be about RHI:
        ” we – unionist, nationalist, republican, none of the above – are all going to be forking out our tax money to fill the half-billion-pound hole Arlene created and, with a little help from Jonathan Bell, kept running along when it should have been halted. That’s what the coming election is about”.
        No doubt it will quickly deteriorate into orange/green as elections here generally do, which is why all efforts to get an inquiry established without bringing down the institutions would have been preferable.
        The DUP made that very difficult of course, but SF got themselves painted into a corner and now the focus on RHI will be lost.

        • Michael January 13, 2017 at 3:49 pm #

          If other parties including SF really played a significant part in the RHI mess do you not think the DUP would be screaming about it from the roof tops in order to deflect the blame?
          They’re not.
          Instead they’re bringing up the Irish language, bed room tax and whatever they can grasp at so they can deflect blame.

          The DUP are already going down the sectarian line promising a “brutal” election.

          I’m no Shinner but you seem intent on pinning blame on the RHI mess on them too.
          It’s quite pathetic.

          • giordanobruno January 13, 2017 at 4:03 pm #

            I am trying to say things are rarely black and white (in this case SF good DUP bad) .
            The DUP as I have said before are primarily responsible for the whole RHI mess, but that does not mean other parties have no responsibilty, and other parties were involved in the scrutiny ( and I believe debate) of RHI right from the very start.
            That is factual.. The DETI committee is made up of members from all parties and they scrutinised (supposedly) this scheme. So did they do their job?
            Jude says an economics student would have seen the problems from the start, Why did no party in the assembly see it?
            Every party has a role of scrutiny and holding the executive to account.
            Did they do a good job?

    • Wolfe tone January 13, 2017 at 11:40 am #

      If the DUP is returned as the largest party and increases its vote it will blow the ‘letsgetalongerists’ narrative out of the water. Hence their attempts to apportion blame to others for ‘missing’ the RHI scam. The ‘letsgetalongerists'(unionists in different clothes) want to turn the election into a nationalist/unionist fight as it suits their agenda and distracts from the initial scandal I.e the DUP is fleecing public funds to look after ‘it’s own’.

      Nationalists should be wise not to turn this into a nationalist verses unionist election and thus let the so called letsgetalongerists off the hook. Bottom line is, if the DUP increases its vote, it will demonstrate that a sizeable portion of people are not interested in fairness but rather interested in spite. I know what outcome my money is on but I live in hope.

      • giordanobruno January 13, 2017 at 12:53 pm #

        I don’t really know what you mean by this and I have the feeling you are getting at me as chief letsgetalongerist and alleged ‘unionist in different clothes’ etc.
        In my view calling an election was always inevitably going to distract from the initial scandal. Voters will revert to their default settings mostly though no doubt some will not come out or even change their choice and we will be back to square one.
        Letting it go to an election looks like a mistake to me.
        I hope I am proved wrong.

        • Wolfe tone January 13, 2017 at 1:49 pm #

          Well Gio, we are often told by the letsgetalongerists that ‘both sides are as bad as each other’. We are also told, when for example, someone raises the United Ireland debate, that ‘most people arnt interested in stuff like that’, implying that bread and butter issues are what most people are interested in. So when a bread and butter issue arises such as RHI, the letsgetalongerists want to steer the election into a nationalist v unionist fight. Go figure. Surely the letsgetalongerists would be welcoming this election to prove their narrative that ‘most people’ are only concerned with bread and butter issues? Surely they’d be urging voters to punish the DUP for their growing creaming off of tax payers money? Surely? Unless of course they actually don’t believe/are lying when the preach letsgetalongerism and are only interested in ‘maintaining the union’? I know where my money is on.

          • giordanobruno January 13, 2017 at 3:36 pm #

            It is against my principles to agree with you but I sort of do.
            I don’t thinkthere is any evidence for ‘letsgetalongerists’ steering the election one way or the other and you would need to be more precise to convince me but I agree there is an apparent contradiction about bread and butter issues.

            Perhaps we should remember that the DUP gets votes from about 16% of the population and SF about 13%. That is the diehard orange/green faction the backwoodsmen and women (to use Jude’s term) who will always vote faithfully no matter what scandal or dirty secret is revealed.

            For the rest including non voters bread and butter issues may be more important but finding a party to address those issues is the problem.
            I would love to see all our non voters come out and vote even if it was for none of the above, but I doubt if it will happen.

    • Ryan January 13, 2017 at 1:04 pm #

      “‘we have been vindicated by the electorate’.

      But they wouldn’t have been vindicated by the electorate Gio because everyone already knows most people will resort to tribal voting anyway. The only thing that will vindicate the DUP will be an independent inquiry. Without a doubt the “No Surrender” crowd will be behind the DUP because their stance is always the opposite of what Nationalism’s is, hence why when Marty and Big Ian were known as the “Chuckle Brothers” they got very angry and confused. I’m surprised TUV hasn’t done better in recent years but I suppose DUP attacks on the Irish Language, Nationalist “rogue” ministers, etc kept many hard core voters on side.

      But there are a lot of Unionists who are outraged due to the DUP’s scandals. I believe Peter Robinson lost his East Belfast seat to Naomi Long due partially to the Iris Robinson affair. The Red Sky, Nama, etc scandals didn’t help the DUP. But the RHI scandal is far worse. I really do think this is an opportunity for the UUP to claw back some MLA seats. The DUP themselves definitely don’t want an election, more than any other party.

      One thing we’re not factoring in as much is the influence this has on non-voters. I have spoke to at least 10 different people on twitter yesterday who haven’t voted in years but who are now voting (in this case Sinn Fein). I suspect many Unionist non-voters will be out at the ballot box this year and they won’t be voting DUP……Christmas 2017 may come early for MikeTV….

      • giordanobruno January 13, 2017 at 1:26 pm #

        But they will say they have been vindicated if SF make it a single issue election.
        That is the risk.
        Non voters as you say are the big unknown.
        I am not convinced they will be stirred into voting by this omni shambles and they are more likely to see it as one lot as bad as the other (I know I know I am not allowed to say that).

        • ceannaire January 13, 2017 at 1:54 pm #

          “But they will say they have been vindicated if SF make it a single issue election.”

          Oh they will say they have been vindicated. But, in a single issue election based upon RHI (incompetence and possible corruption), what would that say about their electorate i.e. the majority of Unionists?

          If anti-Nationalism or anti-Republicanism trumps incompetence/corruption then Unionism will be led to the top of any old hill. They will deserve to get their eye wiped by their reps in future.

          • giordanobruno January 13, 2017 at 2:20 pm #

            Maybe it will tell us something about the electorate we do not already know but that is irrelevant in terms of the outcome.
            It would effectively end the RHI issue as a pressing matter and it will be soon forgotten.

          • Michael January 13, 2017 at 3:53 pm #

            If the DUP are indeed voted back in as the majority party it certainly will tell us something about the electorate.
            That they’re happy for incompetence, corruption and disrespect as long as it keeps themuns out.

        • Ryan January 13, 2017 at 3:21 pm #

          ” (I know I know I am not allowed to say that).”

          You are allowed to say that Gio but it’s just not true. Martin McGuinness’s approach to politics over the past 5 years compared to Robbo’s and Arlene’s is a clear example. True, Robbo made a few small attempts to reciprocate Marty’s actions (going to a GAA game, trying to honour the Maze agreement, etc) but he was met by a lot of angry voices within his own party. Arlene has been an utter disaster as First Minister, she has made absolutely no move towards reconciliation. Her conduct during the commemorations of 1916 was disgraceful to say the least.

          We have to agree to disagree on non voters Gio, I really do feel a shift in the electorate these past few weeks. People are outraged. What that means we will only see after the election, though no matter what happens the results wont change anything.

          • giordanobruno January 13, 2017 at 4:07 pm #

            My point is that it is how a large part of the electorate, the non voters, seem to view things
            Will this latest debacle change that?
            I doubt it, but we are only speculating here and your guess is as good as mine.

  4. Colmán January 13, 2017 at 11:42 am #

    To me this election should be about progressive parties vs the DUP. In the south of Ireland we have Right2Change – sometyhing similar should be introduced in the north so we can put an end to this debacle.

  5. TheHist January 13, 2017 at 11:46 am #

    Excellent, Jude!

    I said to a friend the other day, the best way the DUP could deal with the current impasse and political crisis is to keep the heads down and keep quiet – they just don’t have the ability to do that, instead they dive in, head first, into the storm – the more they say the more damage they are doing to their party – they are destroying themselves – arrogance they say is “the camouflage of insecurity” and we are clearly witnessing a political party creating a crisis and using the crisis against itself!

    Stephen Dempster of Spotlight last night correctly encapsulated the position of the DUP, “20 years covering, observing Unionists politics I’ve never seen the DUP in such strategic disarray. Outwardly at least, all over the place.” I would go one step further – Inwardly they seem to be all over the place – who is making the strategic decisions? They are doing a good job at destroying any credibility the DUP have left at the minute.

    Few questions – In relation to Mr Givan’s Department – what other cuts have been made within his department? Why was there a £100,000 overspend in relation to money for bands instruments and uniforms? In justifying his position on reinstating the Liofa grants, Mr Given stated on The View yesterday evening, “my actions were motivated by protecting the language.” Surely then, and being consistent with this proposition, Mr Givan would be looking to extend legislation to protect the language further, e.g. an Irish Language Act – Why does Mr Givan not publicly come out and criticise those in his party, namely Gregory Campbell who have attacked the use of the language? The timing of the whole thing is clear evidence of it being a political decision – the decision was taken on 23rd December to stop the grant – Mr Givan has refused to adequately justify why the decision was taken then! Not only have the DUP damaged themselves within their own electorate, by reinstating the Liofa grants the extreme and hard-core elements in the party I am sure will have something to say about that – no better way to damage yourself than do it from all sides of the party!

  6. billy January 13, 2017 at 11:49 am #

    my enemies enemy is my friend and all that.but well done sophie of the pup is sickening a woman who supports and takes her lead from somebody who gunned down two innocent brothers michael loughran and eric morgan as the walked along the falls rd to do a days graft simply because they were catholic..yes well done sophie indeed.

  7. Perkin Warbeck January 13, 2017 at 12:39 pm #

    Not the least intriguing of possible changes which may result from the forthcoming (erm, provisional) Election , Esteemed Blogmeister, is the future of (gasp) The Man who is Thursday in The Unionist Times.

    Newton Emerson is the current incumbent in that morally uplifting pulpit reserved for Norn Yunes to , erm, pontificate and so set Southern Non-Yunes right on what is actually what North of the Black Sow’s Dyke. Mr. Emerson became the, erm, Newt on the Block when well known Salamander-worshipper, E. McCann at long last successfully stormed the gates of Stormont.

    (The Salamander is the sobriquet by which the cold, unsmiling Arsene Wenger of Arsenal is affectionally known by his butties, due to his uncanny talent for making 11 million squids per anus, oops, annum seem like a recipe for unrelieved misery).

    -Should I go or should I stay?

    Is the song which, erm, Emerson could well end up singing in the sad event of Eamo not longer being in a posish to mouth the newly superannuated mantra:

    -Yes, we can.

    The original Man who was Thursday was a nifty novel by the gargantuan G.K.Chesterton in which the contemporary phrase ‘hiding in full sight’ got an original outing. One of the central characters is an Anarchist Poet name of (gulp) Gregory who asserts that the ‘most poetical of human creations is the timetable of the London Underground’.

    This character’s dodge is as follows: by publicly revealing his endorsement of anarchy he gets away with being looked upon as a gom and in the process gets ‘a fool’s pardon’. When in fact he is an influential director of the European anarchist council.

    This metaphysical thriller was published in 1907, the year after a Collins called Michael landed in London. The Big Fellow later namechecked this book as having a profound effect on him: it was it which prompted him to ‘hide in full sight’ in Dublin some years later.

    In his one-eyed Nelsonian column yesterday, the Man who is Thursday truly put the ‘nark’ into ‘anarchist’. As this was a departure from his normal winky, walking-stick twirling tone it might even suggest that The Newt has nought to be cheerful about at the prospect of the (as yet, provisional) Election and above all, its putative results.

    The laddish grin in his punk-rocker, bog-oak dissing physog (a photo of which illustrates his weekly pulpit piece) could well be the not-so baddish clincher that here is a true blue Norn Yune indubitably well versed in the dark art of ‘hiding in plain sight’.

    On the question of the Leprechaun which, of course , is nawt but a, erm, Fig Líofa for the Fenians, this is what the newly-narky Newt had to say:

    -However it is only thanks to Givan’s disrespect that the Sinn Fein leader, Adams, could embark on such vintage victimology.

    Gregory (see both above and also, above and beyond) would have given the thumb’s up to this Double V sign by his fellow narky True Blue Norn Yune.

    Truly is The Pall of Smoke that one that keeps on Givan.

    Sticking with background languages it is a curious fact that the chorus of ‘Should I go or should I stay’ is actually sung in Spanish, in fact, Ecuadorian Spanish. (To do with the sound recordist whose madre was a native of Ecuador).

    It was the only hit of the punkrock band called ‘The Clash’.


    Could it be that when the results roll out from the (gulp) provisional Election that Man who is Thursday will issue a cover version of this hit:

    -Shall I go or shall I stay?

    We are talking here, are we not, folks about the putative,erm, hurling of abuse?

    -The Clash of the Ash .

  8. paddykool January 13, 2017 at 12:54 pm #

    It is obvious that the DUP has learned nothing and it’s possible they never will or want to learn anything..At the moment their greatest fear is the unknown of an election although it will probably pan out that they’ll be able to whip up enough fear among their current supporters who can’t understand the detailed subtleties of the position they are in and do very well again. They will sell that same old snake-oil of bigotry and disrespect as they have always done before.That is part of their apartheid DNA after all. It was ever thus.
    In that they’ll hope to keep those fenian rebels out of the “top job” and that will be enough for them.That is enough for them.That little fact …they’ll be able to sell to their supporters as some kind of victory.The alternative might be that the TUV , Alliance and the UUP will soak up some of their votes but fear of a four-way split in the total unionist vote might scare the backwoods voters into voting for the DUP all over again anyway.You can see how easily they are manipulated, so they might accept thieves, double-talkers and incompetents in government as the price they have to pay to keep a nationalist (fenian) from the top job.
    That is why before any idea of taking up seats in a proposed re-run of the same system is proposed, a few things need to be straightened out first.Brokenshire is obliged by law to strike for an election.
    Should Sinn Fein choose not to run any candidates at all ,the result of any election would be known far- and -wide as being a bogus representation of the actual position and any government set up on those terms would not be really representative at all .If they run candiates without resolving the outstanding questions first they ‘ll have to negotiate all over again before taking their seats…and they will not take their seats anyway if they do not get those changes.Those”changes” are actually things that were already agreed long ago and were not applied by the DUP.So some cosmetic changes :
    1. One glaring thing would be the “Office of First Minister/Deputy First Minister” .It would need to be officially and very clearly made a proper “joint office” with two First Ministers… lowly deputies at all.That might be a beginning and it might finally indicate to unionism that it is a properly joint office.
    2.There is the Petition of Concern which needs to be looked at because it has been abused to cover up scandalous behaviour too many times in the past.Equality and Human Rights need better protection than this foolishness.
    3. The behaviour of politicians in the chamber needs to be “policed” by an outside element of some sort to clearly mark when behaviour has been illegal , bigoted , racist or otherwise demeaning to either tradition. So far we have had the stupidity of the “Curry My Yoghurt” in which the DUP had made the stupid claim that Sinn Fein had somehow “weaponised” an entire language.Most rational people saw that as a cack-handed slur on the national language of Ireland itself and not just those who wanted to acquire a greater understanding of a culture not . It was hardly a reaching across the great divide to insult someone’s chosen mode of was even appreciated that “Ulster Scots” has only ever been a local dialect and not a language in itself. In real terms it is a mixture of Old English , gaelic and local slang terminology.Part of the previous agreements was the introduction of an Irish language Act .Where is it? someone would need to dig that one up and sort it out.
    There are many other problems to do with perfectly civil laws such as gay legislation, anti -hate crimes, racism crimes and so forth which need to be sorted too .These things should have been sorted out long ago .Too many unionist politicians have been on the wrong side of those debates.

  9. Cal January 13, 2017 at 1:50 pm #

    As a SF voter all my life, I’m struggling to find the will to vote for them. My head tells me that SF’s new found hard ass attitude to the DUP may fade post election and it’ll be more of the same despite promises of no return to the status quo. I fear Irish language activists will be disappointed one more time as an Irish language act quickly gets dropped for something like holding the justice ministry.

    Perhaps, though, SF are now fully aware of the resentment that has built up within nationalism and will be true to their word – no return to the status quo. This election for me is about equality and guarantees that previous agreements will be implemented.

    If I do vote SF and they jump back in without a language act, it will be the last time I vote in Stormont elections.

    • Ryan January 13, 2017 at 3:36 pm #

      Cal, Sinn Fein has made clear there will be no return to the status quo. They don’t even want to enter talks until after the elections. I think if the DUP want the institutions revived (and they certainly do) then an Irish Language Act will be the minimum they will have to agree to.

      There has been talk in the Belfast Telegraph today that the Deputy First Minister title might be abolished and a new office of the “Joint First Ministers” created. This is to erase the political Unionist desire to appear “above” nationalists to their electorate, despite the fact the First Minister cant sign a letter without the permission from the Deputy. I think a Joint First Minister Office is important because symbolism is powerful and its very wrong to encourage and appease one side into thinking they are “above” the other, it doesn’t encourage equality but encourages a very unhealthy mind set that is unique to political Unionism. Martin McGuinness himself said if he was ever First Minister he would abolish the Deputy title and create a Joint First Ministers office. Why didn’t Arlene or Robbo do that? because they wanted to appear “above” Nationalists to their electorate.

      I think any deal to get Sinn Fein back into Stormont will involve an Irish Language Act, funding for inquests, British soldiers/RUC investigated for crimes and a drastic change and toning down in the DUP’s attitude. As the Impartial Reporter said in yesterday’s article: “Sinn Fein are in a powerful position”.

      If Stormont isn’t revived then I cant see anything other than Direct Rule for a time then Joint Rule.

      • jessica January 13, 2017 at 9:23 pm #

        “If Stormont isn’t revived then I cant see anything other than Direct Rule for a time then Joint Rule.”

        Why would you want Stormont revived Ryan?

        If Sinn Fein refuse to allow Stormont come back until the DUP prove themselves capable of parity of esteem, which is what they should do. Would you not be willing to support and attend street rallies to demand a border poll rather than accept and suck up direct rule?

        I cant wait until there is a campaign for a border poll post elections.
        There is only so much you can do online.
        It will soon be time for some fresh air.

    • Sherdy January 13, 2017 at 5:18 pm #


    • jessica January 13, 2017 at 9:05 pm #

      I don’t think they are being hard ass to the DUP Cal.
      They are crystal clearly to me pointing out where the DUP are going wrong and saying that there will be NO power sharing without parity of esteem and mutual respect.

      The politics of them and us is over forever, it will not be coming back and the DUP and possibly unionism in general are struggling to accept or even deal with that, which is why I don’t see Stormont ever coming back and to be honest I don’t want it to come back.

      I was unable to vote last time out as the thought of Stormont and what was going on in it sickened me to my stomach, but I will definitely be voting this time out.

      I do accept there is a small chance that the UUP could replace the DUP as the largest unionist party and there is a risk that as a Sinn Fein / UUP partnership has not yet been tried this scenario would be difficult to avoid giving it one last shot.

      My preference would be that they wont and Stormont will not be returning but instead a border poll will be demanded off the back of an increased Sinn Fein vote.

      I look forward to taking to the towns and cities to demand it.

      Stormont has failed, it is not even worth discussing saving it.

  10. fiosrach January 13, 2017 at 2:39 pm #

    When PSF come round the doors looking your vote, cal, you need to make it clear to them that you’ll vote for them this time but if they horse trade their way back into Stormont to prostitute themselves to the DUP they will never get your vote again. People power made them stand up at last and they should be made aware of the consequences if they slide again.

    • jessica January 13, 2017 at 9:13 pm #

      Once again, point of view, fiosrach
      I recognised what they were doing and that this situation was the likely outcome long before Nolan and Spotlight.
      The people are not leading Sinn Fein, Sinn Fein are leading their people and they are doing it well.

      • fiosrach January 13, 2017 at 11:09 pm #

        Not many of us have your perspicacity,Jessica.

        • jessica January 13, 2017 at 11:23 pm #

          Not many of us could tolerate what Sinn Fein have had to.
          I know I couldn’t.

  11. Eolach January 13, 2017 at 2:49 pm #

    Cal ,I find myself (and countless others) in the same predicament ….a lifelong republican , but after every election I find our republicanism , our pride ,our language ,our culture being sidelined for appeasement , in the hope that some bigoted backwood dinosaurs may want to join us in the 21st century .This time Sinn Féin must stick to their guns (no pun intended) unequivocally…Acht na Gaeilge , unadulterated equality for everyone ,proper ministerial controls ,reformed “Petition of Concern” etc etc ….the whole caboodle to make this place bearable until inevitable reunification.

    • Jude Collins January 13, 2017 at 2:52 pm #

      Couldn’t agree more, Eolach…

    • Ryan January 13, 2017 at 3:40 pm #

      I agree with all you say Eolach but whether or not republicans are displeased with politics, its always important vote. That’s the tool that brings change. Sitting back and not voting does nothing.

      • jessica January 13, 2017 at 9:08 pm #

        Not necessarily, what good was your vote for the SDLP last time out Ryan.
        They were entitled to seats in the executive and opted to go into an artificial opposition to make friends with the DUP to suggest a joint change at the top,

        You may as well have went fishing with billy and never bothered voting.

        • jessica January 13, 2017 at 9:09 pm #

          Sorry UUP

        • billy January 13, 2017 at 10:38 pm #

          get you round to the bookies and bet all them businesses you own on a border poll getting called if your so sure.its stormont or direct rule no matter if you vote or not.

          • fiosrach January 13, 2017 at 11:12 pm #

            Right on,Billy. PSF just have to agree a price.

          • jessica January 13, 2017 at 11:29 pm #

            I guess it depends on what you are voting for whether it matters or not.
            I am voting simply to give support to Sinn Fein, not for a return of Stormont.
            What happens after the election will be of more interest to me.

  12. Billy Gray January 13, 2017 at 4:55 pm #

    Great article Jude. Just goes To Show, ‘The Pen IS Mightier Than the Sword’ whether it is in Gaelic or English.