Nesbitt’s tactics make opponents look goo

Posted By: November 11, 2015

Brian Feeney. IrishNews(Belfast).Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Now that Gerry Adams has returned safely from the $500 a plate Friends of Sinn Féin
fundraising dinner in New York the British and Irish governments can sign off on the
deal that’s been on the table since last week.

Will it be today, tomorrow or Friday? It doesn’t matter. Whenever it is, it will be
a triumph for Sinn Féin and the DUP. 

Suits both of the parties down to the ground.

The apprentice politician Mike Nesbitt unwittingly helped both parties by knocking
negotiations sideways in September. 

Whatever is agreed one thing we know for sure is that none of it will be implemented
in the next couple of months, what with Christmas and the New Year looming. Besides,
everyone will have to wait to see what the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposes in
his Comprehensive Spending Review on November 25.

For Sinn Féin, thanks largely to Nesbitt’s opportunism, it means the party didn’t
have to be seen to be administering austerity cuts here in the run up to the
Republic’s general election now pencilled in for the end of February. It would be
possible to wait until March but the new taoiseach (or the present one re-elected)
will want to visit the US for St Patrick’s Day as usual and as usual his cabinet
will swan around the world at public expense.

For the DUP a deal conveniently coincides with its annual conference on November 21,
when, if rumours are correct Peter Robinson will announce he is retiring from
politics to spend more time with his legendary tie collection. Does anyone know
anything else he’s interested in? Oh yes, carp, Japanese carp: that’s fish in case
you think it’s a misprint. 

Six months before the assembly election is ideal time for Arlene ‘rogues and
renegades’ Foster to act as understudy prior to taking over as first minister while
dour “Depooty"[Deputy] Dawds comes in as party leader. That will prove wrong the
SDLP claim that the party leader can’t operate from Westminster.

All of which presents a serious political problem for newcomer Nesbitt. The net
result of his shenanigans this autumn will be that his party has no minister at
Stormont and therefore a diminished presence in the assembly and in the public

When it comes to implementing the various sections of the Stormont House Agreement –
and that’s what any deal is with the parts on welfare updated – the UUP will have no
input at the executive. Nesbitt has made his party surplus to requirements.

Furthermore,  he probably doesn’t remember that in the campaign before the last
assembly elections,  the electorate didn’t like the UUP and SDLP whingeing on the
sidelines about the DUP and Sinn Féin. People voted for parties who were making the
institutions work. Nesbitt has now placed the UUP in the position where it threatens
not to work the institutions, maybe not take up any executive place after next May.
So why would anyone vote for them? Essentially the UUP slogan will be, ‘Vote for us
and we won’t deliver.’

On the other hand this is a party leader who has done more somersaults than an
Olympic gymnast. Remember he wasn’t returning to talks until the IRA was number one
on the agenda. It wasn’t, but he returned. He wasn’t returning to talks if the
review of paramilitaries showed the army council still existed. It did , but he did.
So,  on his record,  it’s quite likely he’ll campaign on going into opposition but
in the end will enter the executive.

All that nonsense simply masked his consistent failure as a negotiator exposing his
vast inexperience in that arena. After the first session of the reconvened talks he
came out to give a report on the talks. No mate, that’s your old job. You’re a
participant. His report was hilarious. He told the media he’d been rapped over the
knuckles for not being positive and that no-one paid attention when he tried to talk
about the IRA. Obviously he played a key part.

So when the deal is signed,  the parties will be grateful they have Nesbitt because
he’ll oppose it and make them look good.