What's the problem ...
... with the statement by the "DUP 12"?
A few hours after Ian Paisley told the Assembly he would share power if Sinn Féin gave their sustained support to policing and justice authorities in Northern Ireland - before they were rudely interrupted - the 12 DUP MLAs issued a press release saying "Nothing that we have said or done today can be taken by the Government as an indication that they can imply Shadow, Designate or any other status to anyone in relation to the Office of First and Deputy First Minister"
Well obviously. Either you have an Assembly, and executive officers, or you don't. There's no designate or shadow status either permitted or required under current legislation and, if there were, it'd be pointless. The statement was made to pre-empt the UK Government talking up Paisley's statement, giving it a kind of Blur-ite spin the Doc never intended. But the Government spin never came (probably due to brainpower being taken up by the Michael Stone débacle), thus making the DUP statement look strange and out of context.
Sinn Féin supporters were quick to suggest a split in the party ranks, but that's just old-style divide-and-rule tactics. Broken-record stuff.
Paisley is ready and waiting for Sinn Féin to join him in government once they've given that support. I think that's fair enough - certainly no more than any other country would require. And if Sinn Féin wants to change policing strategy, tactics or the colour of their uniforms, let them take their rightful places on the Policing Boards and apply their democratic influence within that framework.
To Republicans I say: the DUP is shifting ground and they'll move more quickly without the mudslinging.