That £1 billion: good deal or bad deal?

Hey. That £1 billion which Arlene and the Gang of Ten have squeezed out of Theresa May – good deal or bad deal?

Good deal, good deal, good deal. Or rather good financial deal. When your health service is threadbare and your schools are living on their wits, finding one billion down the back of the sofa is a cause for high fives and somersaults. It could have been higher, it could have been lower, but it definitely was good. Hail Arlene!

Any drawbacks? Well, none to speak of. Or at least, none that  wise and objective commentators like Newt Emerson can find. The rest of us dull-wits, we might take a longer view and wonder how the Tory government can be in two places at once. Because that’s what’ s called for.

Its representative in Paddyland, James ‘Snap’ Brokenshire, will of course continue to be the baggage-free arbiter of our interactions, seeing to it that neither of the warring tribes carries a brick or a flagpole into the negotiating room. At the same time, his boss will be making sure that nothing upsets her new partner-in-government….No, tell a lie. The DUP are not partners. They’re confidence-and-supply associates. Or is it supply-and-confidence? Either way, they’re not really part of the government, although at the same time Theresa must see to it that no detail of any kind upsets any of the Gang of Ten. In Westminster or in Stormont. But that doesn’t mean that James isn’t impartial, any more than the fact that he and his mistress are declared unionists means they’re partial. They’re unionists but they’re fair unionists. I hope that’s clear.

There are some who say this DUP-Tory deal  will erode confidence. That the nationalist and republican people will get truly fed up with the signing of Agreements which are then implemented on an a la carte basis. The items unionism and the Tory Party feel like implementing, they implement. The bits they don’t feel like implementing they ignore. And there’s no point in Gerry Adams or anyone else complaining about an Irish Language Act being promised in writing, or a Bill of Rights being promised in writing. Because the unionist politicians and the Tory politicians will just roll their eyes, put on their head-phones and flick the noise-cancelling switch.

Newt Emerson in the Irish Times this morning (of course he’s neutral on the north) dismisses the possibility of the DUP-Tory deal threatening the peace here. As always, he’s 100% right. The IRA will not rematerialize out of the mist and start lobbing hand-grenades at the statue of Carson. But that’s short-term. Mid- and long-term? Well, the Troubles had many mothers but high on the list was the fact that unionism ran our North-East Nest in a way that treated nationalists and republicans with contempt. But you can’t say they’re doing that now, can you? They’re simply not following through on things signed up to, like an Irish language act and a Bill of Rights… Don’t be so silly, of course the nationalist/republican population won’t eventually get sick of being lorded over and remove the pike from the thatch once again. Deep in their hearts, they like being a subject-people.

42 Responses to That £1 billion: good deal or bad deal?

  1. giordanobruno June 29, 2017 at 8:49 am #

    I am pretty sure Newton Emerson describes himself as a unionist, so I don’t know why you make a jibe about his objectivity. Opinion columns are not required to be neutral as you should know.
    Here is a link to his article for those who like to read statements in context
    I think he is right that there is no prospect of a return to violence in the aftermath of this DUP/Tory deal
    This deal will run its course and sooner rather than later some kind of devolved government will return, mainly because no-one has any better idea.
    Sinn Fein will not want to be side-lined for long with the DUP having the ear of the government , and no assembly, leaving them with no public platform other than the Dáil and social media.
    And I think you are right that we cannot be complacent about the long term. None of us can be sure that low level violence will not somehow escalate into conflict

  2. fiosrach June 29, 2017 at 9:52 am #

    Do not be misled by the erudite and witty comments of unionist commentators. They are propagandists. They have the same objectives as the Neanderthals and use them when it suits. But make no mistake. Brokenshire, May and all aspects of unionist liberal society here have one aim viz. To maintain the status quo. You run across this educated type who delight in holidays in the Free State and come back with the news that, really, the south doesn’t want us and can’t afford us. The rest just steal and burn pallets. It’s their culture. But two results will come from these present talks. Irish language and identity respected or no Stormont. Either is attractive.

    • giordanobruno June 29, 2017 at 10:15 am #

      That is bordering on bigotry.
      Maintaining the status quo is a legitimate aspiration just as a united Ireland is.
      If you view all unionists as either untrustworthy or thieving arsonists then maybe you need to get out a bit more.
      All commentators are propagandists for their point of view.
      Republican commentators are propagandists just as unionist ones are.
      Newton Emerson is at least known to be critical of unionist parties from time to time, whereas some commentators (and bloggers) are unerringly faithful to their chosen party!

      • fiosrach June 29, 2017 at 11:20 am #

        Perception,dear boy. Either the unionists are right or the nationalists are right. Once you accept that, all things become clear. A bigot is someone who thinks he is right and others are wrong. Who wants a wishy washy middle of the road with no opinions. If you vote unionist, I accept that is your point of view. I also accept that a large percentage of unionists will not be convinced. So what do bigots like me do? Convert to unionism?

        • giordanobruno June 29, 2017 at 12:08 pm #

          Well done. Accepting you have a problem is the first step. There may be hope for you.
          I’ll make a letsgetalongerist out of you yet.

          • fiosrach June 29, 2017 at 2:05 pm #

            It’s not my problem now,goo.

  3. Oriel27 June 29, 2017 at 10:10 am #

    I dont like the manner in which the DUP brand of unionism as ever approached the Good Friday Agreement.
    They have never endorsed equality. The Irish language act was agreed 11 years ago, it should be implement.

    Right now, Nationalists are screwed. The DUP are not playing fair. The Westminster government are not playing fair.

    I can see history repeating itself.

    Its all started at the’hard border’ in the 50’s & 60’s.

    Is the border coming back?

    Anyway, right now there is no conditioins for renewed conflict. But certainly, the DUP are fairly stiring things up by not allowing an ILA. It was agreed, remember?

    What was the GFA about then?

  4. Eolach June 29, 2017 at 10:58 am #

    Gio , you really don’t get it , do you ? Do you really think Sinn Féin feel sidelined as they watch a sordid ,feculent deal between the DUP and the Tories work to the inevitable detriment of both ! Do you honestly believe that both ,undoubtedly unscrupulous , parties sleekedly worked behind closed doors ,for a fortnight ,for the mutual benefit of everyone in this part of Ireland . …..time will offer a different story. Since their inception in 1971, the sole raison d’être of the DUP has been the destruction of the Republican movement and their ” Smash Sinn Féin ” campaign being one of their major successes….NOT…..SF now being the largest party , and only nationwide party , in Ireland.
    Jude , the problem with so-called liberal Unionists like Emerson is that they fall at the first hurdle ….their antipathy and contemptuousness is so ingrained that it has become blasé and casual , almost indifferent…’s second nature ! They don’t see the need for a “Bill of Rights” an “Acht na Gaeilge” an equality agenda or any other such paraphernalia…..the assume that they’ll always be in charge. This myopia is their reason for their inability to accept inevitable change…..their inability to accept Irish as equal to British and their inability to accept that demographic transformation is breathing down their necks .

    • giordanobruno June 29, 2017 at 11:47 am #

      I don’t know if SF feel side-lined or not. I am just pointing out that with no assembly and abstention in Westminster their voice may not be heard.
      Will they content themselves with issuing a press release every day moaning about things they cannot influence? Maybe a few marches now and again?
      It seems dangerously close to impotence to me.
      Also it is ironic to see you use words like sordid and unscrupulous in one breath and complain of unionist contempt in the next.

      • fiosrach June 29, 2017 at 12:08 pm #

        The kingdom had an assembly until Xmas and the nationalists were still idealized. The British political classes don’t give a damn about us here in Ireland. They are using this horse trade between the various shades of unionism as a stick to beat the Tories.We are collateral damage. And btw , unionism or the status quo is not a legitimate aspiration. It may be genuine and worthwhile but it is certainly not legitimate. Burning and theft are indeed in the genes. Wearing a suit in the golf club or an oversize white anorak and sweat pants a unionist voter is a unionist voter.

        • fiosrach June 29, 2017 at 12:09 pm #


        • giordanobruno June 29, 2017 at 4:57 pm #

          Burning and theft are in the genes?
          Ok I can see there is a long way to go to fix you.

          • fiosrach June 29, 2017 at 6:39 pm #

            Lord Sidney, based at Massereene in Antrim boasted to his royal ruler that he had sailed across Lough Neagh and landed his forces at the Washing Bay. From there they fanned out and to quote him “we killed all men, women, children and beasts and burned all crops for a radius of three miles”. In the genes,gio.

          • giordanobruno June 29, 2017 at 6:43 pm #

            You think there is a gene for that?
            And all of the Irish natives who have been intermingling with the planters for 400 years, what of them?
            Are they now contaminated with this pillage gene too?
            Are you sure of your own racial purity?

          • fiosrach June 29, 2017 at 7:35 pm #

            Nobody can be sure of their racial purity as all the womenfolk in Ireland for the past 800 years could have been raped by English soldiers. But anyway,back to the present. Why is Britain governing a part of a country which is not Britain. Is we a colony?

      • Pointis June 29, 2017 at 12:57 pm #

        Gio, you are normally sound enough in your prediction of how events will pan out hear but you are way of the mark if you think Sinn Fein are going to be isolated after this. I guarantee you the opposite.

        Sinn Fein have done a moderately good job of convincing nationalists to stay onboard. Nationalists will not blame Sinn Fein they will flock to them!

        • giordanobruno June 29, 2017 at 3:46 pm #

          I would be happy to be proved wrong. With the SDLP becoming increasingly insignificant it would not be good if the nationalist population are not being heard, even if it is for 6 months or whatever.
          But what will Sinn Fein be doing exactly to argue for their constituents?.
          They won’t be in Westminster and they won’t be in Stormont.
          How will they get anything done?
          In practice they will just be hurling from the ditch.

  5. moser June 29, 2017 at 11:33 am #

    Then why exactly our SF in negotiations with the DUP ?

    • moser June 29, 2017 at 2:38 pm #


  6. paddykool June 29, 2017 at 12:20 pm #

    It is true that most communications these days are made via social media and over the internet as opposed to via radio or television , so I’ve no doubt that Sinn Fein will have no bother getting their message across.This is a party that has been banned from the airwaves and managed to survive and grow larger than any other party after all.I can’t imagine them wanting to rush back into a government with the DUP either unless the DUP radically alters its behaviour….no matter how much cash is involved.The DUP brought the Executive down all by themselves and there’s plenty of evidence to that which radio and television commentators still choose to ignore …just as they ignore all the other misuses of cash and the juvenile antics that are also well documented.Locally , unionist politicians have all but encouraged lawlessness to the point where nothing is thought o lighting bonfires in car parks or local councils storing illegal pallets.They are lawless and this is really an open lunatic asylum which has been encouraged by word and deed. To pretend is the case is nonsense.So why should Sinn Fein really want any association with them? The Tories on the other hand are a reprobate party that will eat itself without salt and buy and pay for any mercenary support to cling to power.They are suitable partners in crime for the DUP and that is exactly what the overseas media have spotted and lampooned to the heavens.Let’s all sit back and see how this relationship develops.

    • fiosrach June 29, 2017 at 12:30 pm #

      Just on the subject of bonfires,harry, this latest inferno to be built in a public car park will destroy the tarmac surface. This is because the relevant council officers (themmuns) stored the stolen pallets and then refused to return them as agreed. Let’s note how long it takes the roads people to repair the tarmac. I remember in the past if there was rioting in a nationalist area the burned out cars and damaged roads were left for weeks. In unionist areas they were cleared and repaired the next day.

    • moser June 29, 2017 at 12:56 pm #

      Harry, I feel your frustration: what we have here every twelve of July is anarchy. And not one single thing being done about it.

  7. Scott Rutherford June 29, 2017 at 12:21 pm #

    The SOS needs a bit of backbone here. Direct rule with the salaries stopped. Any type of governance is better than this fiasco.

    I hear the blame game starting on the radio. Who’s to blame for this mess? Quite clearly it’s the Northern Ireland electorate. They were presented at the last assembly election with a choice between parties that obviously can’t work together (DUP & SF) and parties that were ready and willing to cooperate (UUP, SDLP, Alliance and Greens) and the voters chose the latter.

    We have sown the wind, and now we reap the hurricane.

    • Scott Rutherford June 29, 2017 at 1:00 pm #

      * chose the former

      Apologies for the mistake.

    • paddykool June 29, 2017 at 4:47 pm #

      It is too simplistic to blame the electorate, Scott. That’s an easy way to look at it.We have too legitimate parties which stood for election on a series of issues.The DUP ‘s policies are well known as are Sinn Fein’s. The facts are sinn fein spent ren years attempting to make things work with fairness and equanamity right across the board .The DUP did not even get started on that front. They reneged on every deal they made and they involved themselves in such scandals that the cumulative effect was a deep mistrust of them .then went Arlene went “imperius Regina” at the very end and blew it all asunder. That is the real story that the pundits do not wish to dwell on .In essence the nationalist community set out to give them as much rope as they might need after years of mistrust of them .they obliged by acting true to form and proceeded to handg themselves while blaming everyone else.who could trust them in a future deal? Their voters must share their views on all the issues of equality and lawlessness that has made them political pariahs….otherwise why would they vote for them ?There have been plenty of unionist alternatives to choose from which might have pulled them out of this ancient swamp.

  8. Eolach June 29, 2017 at 1:41 pm #

    A bit of desperation setting in there Scott….yes letting the electorate chose who they vote for is that nasty thing called democracy….shouldn’t be allowed..they should do what their “betters” tell them. You also seem to set great store in an unelected ” Little Englander” imposed on the people here…..that is a major part of the problems here…..foreigners interfering ! It’s almost 100 years since this partitioned colony was enforced on us and neither the British nor the Unionists seemed to have learned anything….still doing sleeked deals behind closed doors. On a more cheerful note , time is running out for Unionism to receive a crash course in decorum , civility and respect….if they managed those three , equality and rights for all would automatically follow and we could maybe start living in normality !

    • Scott Rutherford June 29, 2017 at 2:08 pm #


      Yes that’s democracy and democracy chose stalemate so on the voters heads be it.

      Vote for entrenched parties and you’ll end up with entrenched politics.

      Till the voters catch on that the DUP/SF carve up doesn’t create stable government, someone’s gotta run the shop.

      So direct rule or joint rule, take your pick, I’ll be happy enough with either way but if I have to listen to day by day analysis about “negotiations” anymore I swear cats gonna get it!

  9. Jude Glasgow June 29, 2017 at 2:06 pm #

    From across the water here in Glasgow, it seems to me that the major factor in preventing the restoration of devolved government in the 6 counties is the unwillingness of the DUP to implement previously agreed decisions.
    This bad faith must leave their Tory allies somewhat uneasy as to the worth of the deal they have brokered with their fellow unionists.
    It also,to my mind, raises a question mark over the worth of any power sharing at Stormont against a background of one of the major players refusal to respect democracy when it doesn’t suit them to do so.

  10. Gerard June 29, 2017 at 2:31 pm #

    Who will pay Shylock when they want the pound of flesh ?

  11. Ryan June 29, 2017 at 2:59 pm #

    Today the DUP joined with the Tories to stop public sector pay rises and the hiring of more Police Officers…..this was a party who was supposedly concerned for the security of Britain but yet they voted against more police officers protecting the general British public. That makes sense. I’m sure capping pay rises will make the DUPers even more popular with people in Britain too…..

    The truth is we don’t know the full deal the DUP got. Even Scotland and Wales want to know what has been agreed under the table. £400 million of the £1 billion is being used for work in infrastructure at York Street (In an area where Nigel Dodds is MP) in Belfast. As noted in blog site Slugger O’Toole today, there was no mention of any roads/rail being allocated money in the West of the North where it is badly needed going back not years but decades. (I recommend people read the article, a link can be found on Chris Donnelly’s twitter).

    When the Belfast Telegraph reported that with purposed boundary changes Sinn Fein could gain a majority of MP’s in the North, Ian Paisley Jnr allegedly tweeted “We’ll see about that!”. This was before any deal was struck between the tories and some have interpreted Paisley’s alleged tweet that the boundary changes will be stopped in some way by the DUP, despite the organisation behind the changes being completely independent and don’t take political parties into consideration. Indeed some have accused Paisley Jnr online of seeking to gerrymander the boundaries, an old Unionist tradition the people of Derry and elsewhere knew of only too well. If the DUP do get the boundary changes stopped, that is deeply undemocratic and would be 21st Century Gerrymandering.

    Whilst some on this blog want to champion and trumpet DUP “success” in bringing back £1 billion to the North (again, where that money is spent is another matter, I wonder if certain “community groups” will get a share, especially for their endorsement of the DUP/UUP in the elections) the Nationalist/Catholic community, the people of Scotland, Wales and England are very suspicious and want to know the FULL details of the deal, especially those agreed under the table…..

    • Scott Rutherford June 29, 2017 at 3:18 pm #

      Point of order Ryan

      160-180 of the 400 million pounds is being used on the York street interchange. The busiest road junction in NI with an estimated 100,000 cars going through a day. It’s the integral Belfast road junction and it’s used by Catholic, Protestants alike. Nothing Orange and green about that one.

      If the executive hadn’t collapsed SF’s Chris Hazzard (or his replacement now I suppose) would be deciding what to do with the extra 200 million left over. Now we will never know what would have happened.

      • Ryan June 29, 2017 at 3:50 pm #

        ” It’s the integral Belfast road junction and it’s used by Catholic, Protestants alike. Nothing Orange and green about that one.”

        Point of order Scott, 25% of the entire population of NI live in the West alone and their road/rail system is still in the early 20th century. Catholic and Protestants alike use those roads and have been promised repeatedly for decades new services and they haven’t got them. Needless to say that infrastructure is vital for the economy of the regions, hence one of the reasons why job creation has been minimal in the West. The constant upgrades in the East, including the one at York Street, is widening the already massive gap between West and East. In other words, priority is far higher in the West than at York Street and has been so for decades.

        Well many do regard the fact that 90% of all the best rail/roads in NI just happen to go through Unionist majority towns/cities/regions as an example of Orange and Green politics, Scott. 95% of motorways are in the Eastern regions. I’m no expert in this so I suggest you go onto Slugger O’Toole and read today’s article for this topic, with comparisons of regions and a recent history on this topic.

        • Scott Rutherford June 29, 2017 at 8:17 pm #


          The whole thing collapsed Chris Hazzard said that after the upgrade of the A5 and A6, the new Belfast hub and the BRT the York street interchange was next.

          It’s clearly the next sensible major project. It’s just happening a lot quicker thanks to the DUPs money.

          As I said theirs money left over for plenty of other things also.

    • giordanobruno June 29, 2017 at 4:26 pm #

      I think it would be a struggle to say the York St junction is of more benefit to orange than green. Is Belfast not a majority nationalist city now?

      • fiosrach June 29, 2017 at 6:42 pm #

        Did you read my wee story about the genes?

        • giordanobruno June 29, 2017 at 8:39 pm #

          Yes it was as fascinating as it was relevant.

  12. paddy maguire June 29, 2017 at 2:59 pm #

    The tory/dup deal will prove the best outcome possible for the republican cause. If u wanted to store up negative political capital for the future, unionism is now reaping it in spades. By the way, has Arlene even noticed the number of tories holding their noses, not to mention the rest of the British population?

  13. Eolach June 29, 2017 at 3:01 pm #

    Scott ,yes that’s the nature of the beast. I try to look objectively at things but this place fills me with something bordering on despair. It’s a failed political entity and has long ago , outlived any strategic purpose it may have served for Britain. The Empire is gone and Britain is no longer a superpower….it’s an American appendage …a small satellite about to fragment even further populated now by people as diverse as anywhere on the planet….Recently ,spurred on by xenophobes , it’s extricated itself from Europe and is rudderlessly drifting into oblivion . It’s basically bankrupt with only The City Of London stoically keeping it afloat….it can’t afford us and soon the population will be privy to this information and how much we cost….we will , unceremoniously ,be cast adrift and only then will Unionism realize the predicament their obstinacy has created.

  14. michael c June 29, 2017 at 3:15 pm #

    Scott,so the SDLP were “willing to cooperate” on Act na Gaelige,the military covenant,equal marriage,legacy issues, welfare,Brexit etc.Thats certainly news to the rest of us! Similarily the Green party ,SDLP ,UUP were agreed on abortion and fracking? Catch yourself on will you.

    • Scott Rutherford June 29, 2017 at 3:22 pm #

      Michael C

      The prospect of compromise and cooperation between the SDLP and UUP was far more likely due to the good relationship they had forged under Nesbitt and Eastwood.

      The current impasse we are at with the DUP and SF has nothing to do with the ILA, LGBT rights etc.

      It’s about there being no trust between the two parties. If you can’t see that your blind mate.

  15. Freddiemallins June 29, 2017 at 3:29 pm #

    You’re dead right, Harry. Unionism has always encouraged lawlessness when it fit with their agenda. They continue to do it with Pengelly’s inflammatory remarks and the acquiescence in tyre-burning bonfires and utilising UVF murderers to lobby for votes. I truly believe that being exposed in Britain for what they are will increase their isolation in enlightened society. We can only hope that the moderates ( we know you’re out there…) will say enough is enough and the scrapings of the Scottish jails will be pressed further up into north Antrim. Maybe then the rest of us can get on together like a normal society.

  16. Eolach June 29, 2017 at 3:50 pm #

    Scott, I think the electorate here is probably the most astute anywhere…. they know what they want and voted for it. I have absolutely no problem with the DUP representing their constituents on a level playing field…… start with everyone being equal, remove THEIR armies and police force, make everyone equal under the law and enforce the laws steadfastly but impartially, remove British influence from the equation ( they’re not supposed to have any interest here anyhow) then begin real negotiations….. that would be a start!