Bumping up the number of proposed new Northern
super councils from seven to 11 could well be
the tonic which Big Ian needs to cure his religious
bog men of their fears about climbing into bed
with the Shinners.
DUP king pin has already made it clear there'll
be no deal by the 24 November deadline, inevitably
leading to the collapse of the so-called Hain
Assembly brought back by the Northern Secretary
the long-term fate of the 2003 Assembly is still
in the balance. Usually reliable SDLP sources
are adamant the Big Man will lead his fundamentalist
dominated party into a power-sharing Executive
as part of the separate 2003-elected Assembly.
SDLP sources are basing their conclusions on supposedly
confidential briefings given to party activists
by top-level Stormont civil servants.
is the carrot Paisley will dangle in front of
the bog men especially in his North Antrim
stomping ground is an increase in the number
of super councils due to come into power by 2010.
the present seven-council scenario, nationalists
look set to have a four-three majority over unionists.
The picture changes radically if the boundaries
are redrawn under an 11-council set-up.
would give unionism a clear six-five majority,
with the DUP likely to again out-gun the election-battered
Ulster Unionists in nearly all of the 11 super
ratify this solution, Big Ian will tell his Bible-bashing
bog men he'll have to enter a power-sharing Executive
with the Shinners to save the Union.
there's been considerable gossip on Stormont's
third floor this week the DUP is preparing to
bring wee Paul Berry back into its ranks, giving
the Paisley camp 33 MLAs in the Assembly
and supposedly a fourth ministerial seat in the
Paul, once top of the pops in the North's highly
popular Gospel-singing circuit, fell off his prime
Newry and Armagh perch following a series of allegations
about his private life.
the DUP once known for its hardline anti-gay
Save Ulster From Sodomy campaign appears
to be having second thoughts about the independent
unionist MLA and, like the Biblical prodigal son,
is believed to be on the verge of giving wee Paul
the party whip again.
Paisleyites are riding high after giving the UUP
another bashing when they succeeded in having
former UVF jailbird and present PUP boss Davy
Ervine bucked out of the Ulster Unionist Assembly
move effectively nobbles the UUP's third seat
on the Executive which the UUP/PUP coalition had
created, and if the Bring Back Berry camp come
out of the political closet, the final Executive
ministerial headcount would be DUP 4, Shinners
3, UUP 2 and the SDLP one.
the Paisleyites must also be rubbing their hands
with glee at the present UUP-style leadership
crisis in Labour.
supposed Labour dream team of Scot Gordon Brown
as party leader and Welshman Peter Hain as deputy
running an English Parliament could badly backfire
in the British Shires, handing the Premiership
to Tory chief David Cameron by a very slender
the Paisley camp could pick up the Westminster
seats of South Belfast and Fermanagh/South Tyrone,
giving the DUP a Commons team of 11, the Big Man
may be sorely tempted to devise a deal
not with the Shinners but with the Tories
to keep Cameron safely in Downing Street.
you, Unionism should not forget how it was shafted
by two former Conservative PM's, the late Ted
Heath who axed the original Stormont Parliament,
and Maggie Thatcher, who dumped the '85 Dublin
accord on the North.
there more gossip around the Stormont tea rooms
... with DUP deputy Peter Robinson's support amongst
the Paisleyite Assembly team now rumoured to have
risen to a dozen MLAs, is the mooted United Unionist
Coalition with Reg Empey's UUP now back on track?
Northern Ireland Office number crunchers maintain
the proposed 36-strong new Empey/Robinson Unionist
Party could be just the ticket to cut the deal
with the Shinners and isolate Big Paisley.
there's also considerable buzz around the Stormont
restaurants the real block to any DUP/Sinn Fein
deal are the Paisleyites' demands the Shinners
sign up to the Policing Board and give full recognition
to the PSNI.
we ever do manage to get a devolved parliament
back, one of the first laws which any policing
ministry should pass would be to give members
of neighbourhood watch groups the power to make
citizens' arrest of young thugs who terrorise
communities, especially in rural areas across
village vermin who are polluting once-quiet localities
think they are the Untouchables under the law
because any adult who challenges their cheek is
likely to end up in jail on a crazy assault charge.
neighbourhood watch groups are to have any teeth,
they must be given the right to physically prevent
teenage yobs from vandalising property or intimidating
the elderly and disabled.
means being able to forcibly hold young thugs
and hoods until the police arrive and the brats
can be prosecuted.
we don't have a policing system which supports
the 'watchers', then its only a matter of time
before the paramilitaries or independent 'paid-for'
vigilantes start dishing out their own brand of
brutal community justice on teenage street hooligans.