Shinners Have 'Scot' to Act Fast! DUP Stance Puts Stormont at Risk

John Coulter with this weeks column from the Irish Daily Star. It featured in Newshound on 16 September 2014.

The Shinners must save Stormont otherwise they risk being backed into a blind alley by Robbo's Dupers.

It's somewhat ironic that Sinn Féin must save the partitionist Northern Assembly, a parliament which the Shinners' military wing, the IRA, tried for decades to destroy.
Sinn Féin has also been strangely quiet about the Scottish independence vote probably because it knows a Yes vote will not lead inevitably to an all-island republic.

Secretly, Sinn Féin must be hoping for a slender victory for the Unionist No camp and the benefits which the Scottish Parliament will acquire if Scotland votes to remain in the Union.

Robbo is taking a leaf out of newly-crowned world champion Carl Frampton and is boxing clever over the Assembly's future.

Robbo's claim Stormont is not fit for purpose is a very unsubtle hint to the Brits to suspend the Assembly.

This will force the Brits to implement the drastic welfare reform cuts, after which the DUP will campaign for the restoration of the Assembly – complete with new Scottish-style powers, following a snap Stormont poll which will seal victory for the DUP.

Then again, if the Scots vote to go it alone, does this mean a large slice of the billions of pounds which Westminster gives Scotland annually could be divided between Stormont and the cross-border bodies?

After all, given that the vast majority of Scottish Commons MPs come from Labour and the Scottish nationalists, a Yes victory could virtually guarantee a Tory Government at Westminster for years to come.

And given, too, the Shinners don't take their Commons seats, this places Robbo's DUP in a prime spot to cut a deal with Brit Premier Dave Cameron to become part of the next Tory coalition Government.

In the days of majority Unionist rule in the North, the UUP had a seat at the Brits' Cabinet table in London.

But the election-battered UUP has no Commons seats. If the DUP can get Stormont suspended, the power base shifts to Westminster where the DUP has eight MPs – enough to tip the balance in a hung parliament.

Unionist voters would flock to the DUP in their tens of thousands if Robbo's spin doctors push the line that a vote for the DUP will mean a Cabinet seat. That would also spell the death knell for the UUP.

The Scottish vote, too, is on such a knife-edge that the Old Firm factor will decide the outcome in terms of a Yes/No victory.

The Yes camp has been stressing the millions which will come for Scotland from North Sea oil.

Even if Scotland votes Yes, expect Cameron's Brits to pull a flanker and try to get the oil-rich Shetland islands to re-join a new Union in the same way the Brits maintain their rule in Gibraltar and the Falklands.

Cameron also has the problem with these new power promises to keep the Scots in the Union. What about all the English regions which want their own federal parliament?

What about additional powers for the Welsh Assembly? A slender No victory will almost certainly guarantee Home Rule for Bonnie Scotland.

And if the Scots secure Home Rule, then the North must get Home Rule – provided there is an Assembly to administer that new found Home Rule status.

That's why it's imperative the Shinners outflank Robbo and the DUP and keep the Assembly functioning.

Sinn Féin must cut a deal for additional powers for the current cross-border bodies. Home Rule at Stormont will only work for Sinn Féin if it can become the largest Assembly party after the next Stormont poll.

That scenario will only come about if the Shinners avoid Robbo's trap of a suspended Assembly.

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