Jude Collins

Saturday, 4 June 2011

The McArdle story: the last paragraph

That’s it, then. Matter closed. After days, weeks of sniper fire from all angles,  the Mary McArdle affair is now closed. She will not be resigning.  Those who had an eye to adjusting or removing the present power-sharing arrangements used the pain of  Ann Travers as cover while they launched salvo after salvo at Sinn Féin. Had these people no feelings? Did they think they were going to heal the wounds of the past by appointing a woman like McArdle? It seemed as though the blitzkrieg must eventually force the withdrawal of McArdle and an apology for the appointment from Sinn Féin. Until, that is,  Martin McGuinness spoke on the matter.

Two things are noticeable about McGuinness over the last year or so. One is the growth in the authority he projects.  When Ian Paisley was around, when Gerry Adams was around,  the Deputy First Minister played the role of Uimhir a Dó  to perfection.  He waited for Paisley to say his bit before he said his, he stepped aside and let the Never x 4 man pass through doors first, he stood to the right and behind his party leader at press conferences, he  confirmed statements articulated by the Sinn Féin  president.  Not now. Peter Robinson may have survived Irisgate, he may look relaxed for a man who recently teetered on the edge of the electoral abyss, but it’s the Deputy First Minister who these days gives weight and certainty to joint pronouncements. And as far as Sinn Féin in the north is concerned, McGuinness is in charge.

The second thing worth remembering is that a lot of unionists, whether they’d admit it or not, like it like that. Eh?  Well  you see, McGuinness has made it clear he’s implacably opposed to the violence of the dissidents, that he’s completely behind the political process. Sure,  some unionists  still wish there wasn’t a Shinner around the place, including McGuinness,  but a lot more derive comfort in their hearts that this guy is inside the tent and not outside it. "Let it be ever thus, Lord" is their prayer.

So when Martin McGuinness says he’s touched by the pain Ann Travers is suffering but  Mary McArdle will remain in her post,  you can take it that’s the final paragraph of this story.  Yes,  Ms Travers has met with Peter Robinson and yes,  Sammy Wilson will look at how special advisers are appointed  (whatever that means); but if Mary McArdle were to be removed from her position now, it’d come at a price few unionists would be prepared to pay. Because if McArdle were to go, McGuinness, who has put the full weight of his authority behind her,  would have to go first.  And that will not happen.  


  1. What I can't understand is why SF play the media's game?
    George Galloway would never stand for it.

  2. Anon
    And your point is...? Play the media game how..?

    'Gorgeous George'...I assume that is for purely alliterative reasons... was pretty impressive when he stuck it to the the US Senate...and now he's taking Murdoch on over 'phone hacking'...However notwithstanding the adage that all politics is personal...these are personal not political campaigns...he is still a bit of a maverick...not that that is necessarily a bad thing...
    It was odd to see Martin McGuinness separated from his unidentical conjoined twin...he always had the air of the spare...Harry to Wil er perhaps not... but has emerged to make his own mark...
    His celebrated sense of humour was often in evidence in debates in the Assembly...I particularly remember a 'lively' exchange with the parties opposite when he referred to opponents as 'Papa Doc' and 'Boxcar Willie'...
    As for NIris..wasn't it marvellous that her recovery coincided so exactly with the election and in time to go to Dublin to see the queen...? miraculous...!I wonder... did she go to Knock...?

  3. Just been told by a clever nephew: M McArdle has a first-class degree. Seems a sensible appointment in that respect at least...

  4. Even if these appointments were subject to the Equal Opps regime...job description person spec etc...I don't know how many people would know a candidates qualifications other than those making the appointment...which is not to say I don't get the point you are making...

  5. I slept so late today I feel like I am jetlagged...it's now about the equivalent of lunchtime..So if I stay up all night I guess will get back to 'real' time...!

  6. Well if Marty's spoken, that's the end of the matter!
    Jude, you are a sad joke.

  7. Why thank you, Anonymous said... Fun too to see you dodge the argument ...

  8. Now Jude don't mention the 'F' word you know it's not in the lexicon of Loyalism...!

  9. Criminals who have served their time should be put on the payroll by businesses to cut Britain’s ranks of long-term unemployed, according to Iain Duncan Smith, work and pensions secretary.  He said business expected government to cut the welfare bill by getting back into work those on incapacity benefits or whose families might have been out of work for two or three generations. But, he said, employers had to play their part." - Financial Times