Friday, 6 June 2008

Talking to the current PM

The result of last weeks kerfuffle is not a secret deal for the Army Council to disband in the summer and policing and justice to be devolved in the Autumn – apparently there is no deal at all at present. If this is true there is a lot of talking to be done in the three hour meeting with Gordon Brown at Downing Street.
The list of things to be discussed is far from clear but is expected to include; policing and justice, education, the Maze Prison complex, the future of the Irish Language Act, paramilitaries (disbandment of), parades and the viability of the mandatory form of executive.
Whether Gordon’s mind will be focused or not is unclear – he has not shown much interest in Northern Ireland to date and is probably more concerned about next week’s vote on the 42 day detention of terrorist suspects. Were he to lose this vote his future in Downing Street would be very uncertain. He will undoubtedly be very aware that the DUP have 9 votes at Westminster. One wonders if he might ask Gerry Adams if he and his four fellow MPs are busy next week and whether he could give them a guided tour of the Palace of Westminster – including the voting lobbies - say late evening next Tuesday? Given the subject is the detention of terrorist suspects it is probably a bit much to ask.
Accepted wisdom seems to state that the UK Government will deliver an Irish Language Act via Westminster if Stormont does not.

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