River Man wrote:
There's more coming out about this story. It would be interesting to get Beebsy view. Is there a fear that a Tory government could scupper the power sharing deal in NI or is this a marginal issue. I can't see how such a partnership can help as the other parties will accuse the Tory government of bias.http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/8556804.stm
The issue is more that the Conservatives know they need Unionist support in the event of a hung parliament. They also know that there are fewer people more conservative than old-style Unionists. So given that the Ulster Unionists are a party of rapidly-fading power and that there are Unionist voters that would never vote for the Democtatic Unionist Party (DUP), Northern Ireland is ripe to welcome the mainland Conservative party as an alternative to vote for.
Given that, the Conservatives are edging their way into Northern Ireland with an electoral pact with the UUP.
Regards Justice and Policing, the deal will go through regardless of whether the UUP vote in favour or not. The hope was that all parties would vote in favour of devolving the powers of policing and justice to the Northern Ireland Assembly from Westminster. This seems unrealistic to me - a true democracy does not need everyone to vote the same way.
Bush's intervention and that of others has done nothing more than back the UUP into a corner. They don't like being told what to do; they still imagine themselves to be a party of real power. Cameron will not intervene for exactly that reason - he can't afford to anger them.
It's an odd issue for Bush to choose to intervene in but I imagine that he was prompted to do so by the Conservatives to give the UUP an assurance that they are stilll a part of power. Cameron can publicly spurn what he may have privately prompted. The Unionists get their ego massaged, Cameron looks like a leader of moral stature and Bush is a disposable voice - well known enough to get attention but with no influence on the world outside his ranch.