ULTIMATELY when devolution of policing and justice comes trundling down the length of verbose negotiations, party gains, party losses, compromises and confusion, the political classes will gaze upon it all and realise that they’ve managed to gain another headache.
This week the First Minister and deputy First Minister have been doing their bit in destroying the climate with flights back and forth to London, not to mention bringing the PM here.
Finally after a week of ‘intense negotiations’ it finally looks like it will be agreed.
Peter Robinson was, as seems to be his permanent posture, cautious. Martin McGuinness, on the other hand has the beginnings of a permanent grin.
They may not be working together but they’re growing into a double act.
But it is a double act of despair? Should McGuinness not be able to ‘deliver’ on a policing and justice agreement by Christmas, Sinn Féin will look impotent. The perception then: A DUP “win”
For Robinson, knowing that devolved policing and justice is inevitable, the budgetary agreement and general concept has to be in place before Christmas. This will give the DUP a clear run to the general election, arguing hither and thither about the minutiae of the legislation. If the First Minister can’t get some of his concessions before Christmas…the perception then: A Sinn Féin win.
They’re stuck on the horns of a dilemma. Should they for once depart from a Downing Street meeting together, they can mutter to each other….”There’s no justice…there’s just us”.