ECHOING the words of the Bucks Fizz Eurovision song, deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness says its time for ‘making your mind up’ about the devolution of policing and justice powers.
In a confusing and bizarre round of talks, non-talks, phone calls and planned meetings for next week, McGuinness met Gordon Brown without Peter Robinson. Peter Robinson spokespeople said he knew nothing about it and couldn’t go anyway. Then Robbo called Gordon Brown. The First Minister said he was meeting the PM next week.
Is the British Government going to be forthcoming in helping foot the bill for policing and justice (court costs, PSNI wages, PSNI compensation, legal aid for ex-terrorists, legal aid for ex-members of the security forces, use of Tasers, issuing anti-social behaviour orders etc etc etc)? Brown has stayed uncharacteristically quiet on the matter.
In short, devolution of policing and justice is going to happen. It may be a short time before it happens. It may be a long time before it happens. There may be money to help with the transfer of powers. There may not be money to pay for the transfer.
There might even be a new minister for policing and justice.
So it might be ‘Making our Mind Up time’ soon, but Bucks Fizz also had a song called ‘The Land of Make Believe’.