Twelve apostles

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Are the twelve apostles about to reappear in the Dup with a crowd?
This is a question that has been put to me by an Assembly member of the Democratic Unionist Party.
Following the meeting with Gordon Brown in America Peter Robinson said if he is satisfied with the economic package for the devolution of policing and justice he will sell it to Unionism.
In the Assembly chamber key figures like Gregory Campbell, Willie Mc Crea and Maurice Morrow have sneered at the idea that powers over justice and policing will be devolved soon.
Did Nigel Dodds the Deputy leader of the Dup not speak of ‘ a generation ‘ before this would happen ?
When this issue emerged initially Peter Robinson argued that the community would have to have full confidence before policing powers could be transferred.
After the European election the Dup leader told the media the confidence matter did not arise during the election but strangely ‘confidence’ has surfaced again.
Maurice Morrow has been telling the media he has not been bothering with changes to standing orders necessary for the devolution of policing and justice because this is not happening.
He chairs the Procedures Committee.
Another senior figure in the Dup Assembly party said:
” Peter should be careful not to go too far ahead of the party.
” It would be touch and go if he could get policing and justice through the Assembly party group.
” The Twelve Apostles could reappear joined by a lot of others.
” A lot of things have to be resolved. Sinn Fein need not think we are going to accept how they’re behaving on parades.
“Education hasn’t been resolved either to our satisfaction.”
The fact remains – Many Unionists still take the view if Republicans think it is good for them then it must be necessarily bad for them.
The Dup is in a bit of a corner with Gordon Brown according to insiders in the recent discussions.
One source described him as “tetchy” and appearing’ fed up’ with the whole discussion fearing that the Dup might pocket everything and not live up to the deal.
The irony of all ironies is that Stormont fell over policing all those years ago to the chagrin of Unionists and now Unionists are reticent to have their hands on these powers because Sinn Fein want them.
So can Peter walk on water ? That is a big question. What was Ian Paisley saying yesterday when he said ” There was more happening outside of Stormont than inside it.”. Was that an endorsement of the party leadership ?

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I am a regular contributor to discussion programmes on TV and radio both at home and abroad. An experienced political editor and author specialising in Politics, Security and 20th Century Art.

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