Belfast Telegraph

There are more important issues that cannot be left ‘for another time’, Peter

 

By Robin Swann

Once again Peter Robinson has reverted to type. For a man so long in politics he has a remarkably thin skin.

When rightly criticised for saying that Northern Ireland should be planning for the possibility of a united Ireland, he attempts to blame the Ulster Unionist Party.

The DUP stayed away from negotiations in 1998 and now Peter seems to have a memory lapse about the St Andrews Agreement which he helped to author, and then stood on a manifesto which claimed they had righted all the wrongs of the Belfast Agreement.

If he didn't like what was in the Belfast Agreement about a border poll why didn't he negotiate it out at St Andrews or was that, to use his own words, 'crass folly' on his own behalf?

Like so many others, Peter is now engaged in attempting to rewrite the past. Nobody did more to destroy the culture of partnership which the Ulster Unionist Party tried to foster in 1998 than Peter and he delivered the final blow at St Andrews. Peter also claims that he wasn't talking about actual negotiations but he says he was 'alluding to the need to agree a process for negotiations, time scales'.

Surely by establishing and agreeing time scales for negotiations he is again advocating a time scale for a border poll?

Instead of setting out plans for a border poll, Peter's time would be better spent extolling the virtues of the Union and encouraging his colleagues to veer away from actions which have brought Parliament, the Assembly and unfortunately unionism into disrepute.

Scandals such as RHI, Red Sky and Nama do nothing to create a 'settled political environment" which Peter Robinson now so wistfully reminisces about.

There are many inaccuracies in what Peter says, but like him, we will leave those to another day.

It would, however, be interesting to understand and have sight of the DUP's risk register and contingency planning it had for the hard Brexit which some of its MPs have advocated, as I am sure many businesses and organisations would appreciate sight of that.

Whilst Peter Robinson directing his anger at the Ulster Unionist Party is something we are well used to and have come to expect, what is noticeable is his lack of endorsement of how his successor has handled the situation, something that is echoed in the Belfast Telegraph's editorial.

I would urge Arlene Foster to heed her mentor's advice when he states the importance of a functioning Executive.

If the DUP's influence is as strong as it claims, it should be using it to get a talks process up and running rather than let Sinn Fein dictate the agenda.

Our health service, education, infrastructure and business sector need local politicians back in control.

That is not 'a subject for another time'.

Belfast Telegraph

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