Sinn Fein are the tomorrow people and the yesterday people.

Most of the excitement regarding the DUP conference centred on Peter Robinson’s speech (or Sammy Wilson’s). In contrast Nigel Dodds’s has received less attention. The moving forward narrative was again played up with the repeated claim that the DUP are the party of Northern Ireland and the party to move Northern Ireland forward. There were swipes at the UUP and TUV as well as nationalists and republicans. Dodds’s moving forward was couched in somewhat more traditional unionist terms. His remarks on victims and Sinn Fein seem designed to show that the DUP is not going to allow victims to be forgotten nor to allow unchallenged the rewriting of the history of the troubles. His comments on Sinn Fein were fairly acid:

Sinn Fein are the tomorrow people and the yesterday people.
Irish unity is going to come but it is always tomorrow. When not dreaming of tomorrow they are trying to re-write yesterday.
Sinn Fein seeks to re-write the history that has failed them.
To do so they seek to portray themselves as victims of state discrimination that left them with no other means of redress but through the bomb and the bullet.
How warped and how wrong they are.
Yet regrettably some Unionists go to Sinn Fein rallies and give credence to such a fallacy by condemning the unionist leaders of Northern Ireland who went before us.
I can tell you this now, this Deputy Leader and this Party will never condemn their own community before the accusing eye of Sinn Fein, and shame on those who do.
Sinn Fein can demand, yearn and search for truth all they want….
But one simple and absolute truth will endure for all time.
The terrorist campaign of the Provisional IRA was criminal, genocidal and sectarian.
It was unjustified and will always be unjustifiable.
Let republicans acknowledge that truth.
Then we can all move forward.

Peter Robinson of course made a number of fairly similar points which seemed a bit forgotten in the excitement about getting Catholics to vote DUP.

The whole conference demonstrated the DUP’s Molyneau-esque ability to appeal across a vast stretch of the unionist population: liberal and hard line; secular and religious unionists. There may be some work to be done increasing the appeal to working class unionists and to very liberal types but that work is well under-way as it seems are attempts to reach out to Catholic and “New Northern Ireland” voters. Unlike the UUP under Trimble, however, the DUP seem determined not to loose to their “right” with their outreach elsewhere. Currently they look to be almost unassailable: that said so did the UUP just after Trimble took power. The problem is always Events, dear boy, events.

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  • Comrade Stalin

    The whole conference demonstrated the DUP’s Molyneau-esque ability to appeal across a vast stretch of the unionist population: liberal and hard line; secular and religious unionists.

    What exactly do you mean by this Turgon – you seem to be suggesting that Molyneaux made accomplishments during his time as UUP leader, what were they ?

  • Turgon

    CS,
    What I meant was precisely what I said: the DUP are demonstrating a Molyneaux-esque ability to appeal acropss a vast stretch of the unionist population.

  • DiarmDearg

    It’s hard to see how the DUP are going to pick up votes in Derry City and Newry if they see former unionist misrule as a ‘fallacy’. Fair play to John McCallister for touching on it in his recent address to the SF gathering. Even Trimble addressed it in his Nobel prize winning speech.

  • TwilightoftheProds

    Received wisdom on Molyneaux is he held a loosely connected broad church together without any real splits.

    Its bunk. Molyneaux’s tenure coincided with a period when the UUP never got near substantive negotiations (Brooke talks proved a false dawn) or the levers of power – there was no real pressure acting on him- the only appeasing he had to do was around quaint little shadow boxing over devolutionism and integrationism. No really difficult decisions to take.

    Sometimes there is a call for ‘masterful inaction’ but Molyneaux was a political cipher; a holding operation in a suit. Unfortunately he and those around him began to believe he actually had the ear of Conservative grandees. Mistake.

    Nobody in DUP leadership is anything like him. Lucky for them.

  • Zig70

    It was all themums fault, we did nothing. That will appeal to all voters below chimp level. apologies to any chimps out there.

  • Decimus

    It’s hard to see how the DUP are going to pick up votes in Derry City and Newry if they see former unionist misrule as a ‘fallacy’.

    Actually in Newry it was nationalist misrule.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Turgon :

    What I meant was precisely what I said: the DUP are demonstrating a Molyneaux-esque ability to appeal acropss a vast stretch of the unionist population.

    I thought I’d ask because in any other place, saying that a particular leader had a unique would be expected to translate into votes. The UUP’s vote remained static during Molyneaux’ leadership. The point being, of course, that unionist voting patterns were never really about appeal.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Twilight,

    There is a popular view in certain unionist circles that the Molyneaux years were some sort of golden age for unionism. I detected a bit of that in Turgon’s contribution there so I thought I’d tease out what he meant by “broad appeal”.

    As you say, it was a holding pattern. Molyneaux, and unionism as a whole, completely misjudged Thatcher and created the fertile ground that led to the Anglo Irish Agreement and, ultimately, the Hume-Adams process and the modern political imperative to integrate Sinn Fein. I believe that certain up and coming unionist leaders knew this at the time but found themselves ignored. That’s partially the Molyneaux legacy.

  • Decimus

    In fairness to Jim Molyneaux, a man who was at the liberation of Belsen, there wasn’t much that he could do apart from holding the line until the murdering stopped. Without his calming leadership it is very possible that there could have been a lot more violence from the unionist community.

  • carnmoney.guy

    Great to hear Doddsie making no excuses about previous mis-rule, and as a wee reminder look no further than Newtownabbey council – no power sharing here, manipulating the representation of the policing board numbers,so no undesirables are elected. When Sinn Fein member resigned, the council co-opted Catholic businessman. Ensuring that all chair and deputy chairs where held by DUP and deputy major was loyalist Tommy Kirkham
    So when DUP get their full hd 3d rose tinted spectacles on they can teach their younger members why the old Stormont was prorogued by the British government, why they are lumbered with sharing power with a quasi paramilitary political party?
    Why the UDR had to be disbanded?
    Why the courts in this country have no British symbols inside?
    Why the bravery of their RUC was represented by the George Cross, followed closely by dumping of – the name, the ethos, management, RUC reserve, the stations, its religious affliation
    Why the intelligence services had all paramilitaries infiltrated yet the murder continued?

  • Decimus

    carmoney.guy,

    Is that Sinn Fein’s next election manifesto? If so it is very deeply flawed and riddled with very basic innaccuracies.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Without his calming leadership it is very possible that there could have been a lot more violence from the unionist community.

    This sounds like revisionism to me. When the IRA ceasefire was declared Molyneaux put out a statement suggesting it was some sort of threat.

  • Decimus

    This sounds like revisionism to me. When the IRA ceasefire was declared Molyneaux put out a statement suggesting it was some sort of threat.

    Comrade,

    That was largely on account of the fact that PIRA were declaring victory. At the time it looked very like they had done some sort of back room underhand deal with the government. It turned out that they were just bullshitting their drones of course, but no one knew that at the time.

  • carnmoney.guy

    decimus

    Hope you havent got any splinters from the latest unionist hobby horse ‘ sinn fein revisionist history ‘
    ignore each point if you wish, its Doddsie proudly remembering the good old days of inequality,

  • carnmoney.guy

    With regard to the final statement
    ‘events dear boy’
    The temerity of Jim Allister highlighting the impotence of Stormont is the outsider to watch. Image a party to the right of the main unionist party growing around a single strong character………

  • Decimus

    carmoney.guy,

    I am merely pointing out the fact that your earlier post is riddled with innaccuracies.

  • Decimus

    On the closing of Police stations. Are the Sinners declaring that as an achievement? Anyone watching the Politics Show today will have seen the outworkings of that particular victory. Old age pensioners terrified to walk down village streets at night. Some achievement.

  • carnmoney.guy

    No idea what the sinners / shinners / winners / mingers have to say, but if you felt that was a manifesto, you really need to get reading a bit more.
    But..
    With regard to your focus regarding the closing of stations, I am simply concentrating on what has become of neighbourhood policing under PSNI compared to the good old days when budgets where unlimited

  • Decimus

    carmoney.guy,

    So you don’t actually regard the closing of police stations as a good thing then?

  • carnmoney.guy

    What with the station fixation?
    In modern policing, a multiplicity of fixed sites are no deterrent to criminals, mobile patrols, foot patrols are the future in times of budget austerity
    To refocus, when Dodds says that their party will never condemn the actions of unionist leaders past, that in an nutshell undermines the outreach of (saint) Peter……..
    maybe during the conference the roles are defined as
    Sammy – the joker
    Peter – the pragmatist
    Nigel – hardliner

    ??

  • http://[email protected] joeCanuck

    We were supposed to to be moving to a community policing future. Closing local police stations makes a joke of that. You cannot have community policing without police officers walking the beat, getting the confidence of the local populace.

  • USA

    So much crap on this thread I don’t know where to begin.

    No excitement about Robinson’s speech, just wondering how he can get a square peg into a round hole. His party is bi-polar, he has no chance of winning Catholic voters, deal with it.

    Speaking of bi-polar, no excitement over Wilson’s racist remarks either.

    And finally Doddsy, yep, another personification of the DUP bi-polar disorder. No one is re-writing history Doddsy, they are simply articulating positions Unionism has been in denial about for 90 years or more. It is quite easy to turn your words back at you and say the Orange State was criminal, genocidal and sectarian. It was unjustified and will always be unjustifiable. Let Unionism acknowledge that truth.Then we can all move forward.

    Dicimus,
    Carnmony guy is right. If Moleneaux didn’t know the Republican cease-fire flag waving was simply for the optics then he was not smart enough to be the leader of Unionism. And as Comrade Stalin stated, his polling figures were not that great either.

    Turgon,
    Peter Robinson of course made a number of fairly similar points which seemed a bit forgotten in the excitement about getting Catholics to vote DUP.

    Oh do come out of your bedroom and into the real world.

    The DUP are miles away from getting Catholic votes. Just because Robinson says it in a speech doesn’t make it so. He cannot even get his own party members on board, each one making contrary remarks at every turn. Never mind Catholics, Robinson cannot even get reps and DUP voters on board. Intellectually and personally he may actually be exploring some of the themes he is commenting on, but he will not be able to win over Catholic voters as there is still way too much racism within the DUP.
    Stop wasting you time selling this one Turgon, nobody is buying.

  • The Raven

    “The DUP are miles away from getting Catholic votes. Just because Robinson says it in a speech doesn’t make it so.”

    …not forgetting 100k+ Protestant voters he can’t even get, as represented by the 54% turnout at the last elections…

  • aquifer

    “To do so they seek to portray themselves as victims of state discrimination that left them with no other means of redress but through the bomb and the bullet.”

    How does Nigel characterise the futile loyalist attempts to restrict the civil liberties of British citizens who happen to be of the Roman Catholic religion?:

    “How warped and how wrong they are.”

    Does not really cover it Nigel. Until Unionists take ownership of their role in this bloody mess they are still in the trenches where the Provos put them.

    Alliance gains.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Decimus,

    I prefer to leave it to the police to say how their resources are best used, and in this case it is the police themselves who are saying that they can deliver a better service if they don’t have to man these stations. I don’t know how that can be a victory for anyone other than those of us who want to see policing increasing its effectiveness.

    It’s misleading for people to put about this notion that a police station radiates some sort of anti-crime forcefield which causes crime to be less likely in its immediate surroundings. That might be how it works in Sim City but it is not the way it works in reality. I know of cases where we have had serious crime and anti social behaviour within metres of a police station’s front door, for example this attack in Whiteabbey over a year ago was literally around the corner from the Newtownabbey HQ in Whiteabbey.

    The assumption seems to be that a police station is supposed to be full of police officers all waiting for calls to come in. In reality, those officers are already out on patrol. They’ll drive around – or simply sit somewhere and they’ll go to where they are needed when they are called. The proximity of your police station should have no bearing on the average response time; most of the officers should be out in cars placed strategically around the district. A response officer should have no reason to be in a police station at any point during his/her shift.

  • separatesix

    Carnmoney-guy why should unionists in Newtownabbey do anything to help their nationalist opponents, if so-called Irish unity ever came about, you mark my words nationalists and republicans would do everything in their power to strongly suppress all things pro-British and protestant.

  • http://WindowsIDHotmail madraj55

    CS. Molyneaux’s term as UUP was, as you accurately pointed out, bereft of achievement unless it was designed to send everyone to sleep.He claimed at one point that Wilson was in full agreement with his party on the UWC strike and set out cragftily to sabotage the suuningdale deal by his spongers speech. His ‘leadership was not so much ‘calm’ as soporific.

  • Neil

    Carnmoney-guy why should unionists in Newtownabbey do anything to help their nationalist opponents, if so-called Irish unity ever came about, you mark my words nationalists and republicans would do everything in their power to strongly suppress all things pro-British and protestant.

    And you base this on what? The old Unionist paranioa? There’s only one tribe who have a solid history of discrimination when in power? Can you take a wild guess who that was?

    It’s like the cheating husband coming home and getting jealous of his wife because of his own guilt. You think that Nationalists will treat you the same way you treated us when you had your chance? Until of course your beloved British government had enough and prorogued Storrmont because you couldn’t behave yourselves.

    We need no ‘favours’ from you, we will take our position through the outworkings of democracy thanks all the same. And that would be democracy in the accepted sense, as opposed to Unionist democracy whereby the Unionists win regardless of whether they’re a minority or not.

    The irony of your statement is highly amusing, and almost case study material regarding the basic psychology of what’s involved. Your guilt makes you think that other people will behave as badly as you. Like a cheating husband becoming jealous because he imagines his wife behaving exactly as he did.

    Unionists are the only people who have used the state to discriminate asgainst people here. As for this gem: supress all things pro-British, again we have no record of this. We do know that Unionists object to displays of Irish culture, even where there is an overwhelming Nationalist majority, yet demand to march through Dunloy, Rasharkin, Derry, Ardoyne etc. All the things you accuse Republicans of in that short paragraph, well, take a look in the mirror mate.

  • carnmoney.guy

    separatesix
    Well argued point,
    this council ( and its constituents ) sadly remains with the same mind set that wouldnt allow Tommy McTeague (SDLP) to visit the war graves of France, yet he was the only one who had served in the forces during the second world war.
    The DUP dominated chamber are at odds with the leadership’s vision. As in other councils, only when their dominence is under threat will power sharing be considered

  • carnmoney.guy

    Back to the thread….
    The lack of interest at Dodds speech, and fact that his household has been banished to Europe and Westminister certainly highlights that the Robinson project has no serious challengers, given the quality of the potential contenders young and old, Paisley, Dodds, Donaldson, Campbell, Foster? It is to Robinsons credit that he has carried the party along this path intact.
    The stone in the shoe is Jim Allister, but Robinson will use his experience in facing down another QC, Bob McCartney

  • Decimus

    I prefer to leave it to the police to say how their resources are best used, and in this case it is the police themselves who are saying that they can deliver a better service if they don’t have to man these stations.

    Comrade Stalin,

    It is police management who are saying that. The officers on the ground will tell you that in reality local knowlegdge is totally lost, and response cars will only pay fleeting visits to outlying villages which once had a permanent police presence. The result is a bonus for criminals and thugs.

  • http://[email protected] joeCanuck

    Decimus,

    Agree totally. They can use their cars to go to different places but you can’t beat (no pun) officers walking around and chatting with locals for an hour or so from time to time.

  • Decimus

    joe,

    The local knowledge is also essential. Police officers who know their beat well can often tell who is responsible for a crime by the MO.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Decimus:

    It is police management who are saying that. The officers on the ground will tell you that in reality local knowlegdge is totally lost, and response cars will only pay fleeting visits to outlying villages which once had a permanent police presence. The result is a bonus for criminals and thugs.

    Yes, response cars are not supposed to have local knowledge. That is the job of the community policing team.

    Surely you are not arguing that the hundreds of towns in NI which do not and never did have a local police station have to suffer an inferior service ?

    The other part of this goes back to what Joe said. It is very politically popular to say “more police walking the beat”, and it is certainly reassuring to see, but in practice it is not so simple; police officers – the ones on the ground – will point out that an emergency which is five minutes away in the car could be 15-20 minutes on foot.

  • http://[email protected] joeCanuck

    Comrade,

    I don’t think that we are disageeing. Emergencies obviously need a car response.

  • Decimus

    Comrade Stalin,

    Let me give you an example of the reality on the ground. A senior police officer visits a police station in a small town which he intends to close. He talks to the local police there and listens to their concerns which centre around the loss of local knowledge.

    He promises them that although they will be based in a station in a larger town they will continue to spend all of their time in the small town in which they were based, so that the continuity of local knowledge is maintained. That is the theory.

    The reality is that once they go to the larger station they are destined to go wherever the management in that station decide to send them. In fact they rarely if ever visit the small town in which they were stationed which consequently is no longer effectively policed. That is what is currently going on here, and that is why you will struggle to find people who feel that the PSNI is fit for purpose.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Decimus,

    Let me give you an example of the reality on the ground. A senior police officer visits a police station in a small town which he intends to close.

    I take it by “example” you mean “hypothesis” ? They’re not the same thing.

    He talks to the local police there and listens to their concerns which centre around the loss of local knowledge.

    Sure.

    He promises them that although they will be based in a station in a larger town they will continue to spend all of their time in the small town in which they were based, so that the continuity of local knowledge is maintained. That is the theory.

    When you say “them” who do you mean, the community police teams or the response team ?

    If you mean the community police team, what you are saying makes no sense. Community police teams are assigned to neighbourhoods and they tend to be organized in terms of council wards. It’s nothing to do with whether or not there is a police station nearby. The strength of the community police team for an area has nothing to do with the proximity of the police station.

    If you can site an example of a community police team being disbanded as a consequence of a police station being closed, go ahead. Otherwise I think you are simply speculating or throwing hypothetical scenarios out there which don’t actually happen.

    The reality is that once they go to the larger station they are destined to go wherever the management in that station decide to send them.

    I’m struggling to understand why the deployment of more police officers to places where they are needed is supposed to be a bad thing ?

    In fact they rarely if ever visit the small town in which they were stationed which consequently is no longer effectively policed.

    What do you mean it is “not effectively policed” ? Has crime or the fear of crime gone up ?

    That is what is currently going on here, and that is why you will struggle to find people who feel that the PSNI is fit for purpose.

    This is hyperbole, the PSNI in this instance are implementing standard practice across the UK and Ireland, or indeed the USA – the radio police car is the base of operations. Parking all your officers in a station waiting for stuff to happen just doesn’t happen anymore. That’s why the stations are being closed.

    The people who argue otherwise are simply harking back to a bygone age of bobbies on the beat as portrayed by Nick Berry and chums which never really existed.

  • Decimus

    Comrade Stalin,

    I am giving you an example of something which has actually happened. If you choose not to believe me then that is your perogative. If you think that closing police stations is a roaring success, which has released more police officers onto the streets, then I suggest that you watch Sunday’s Politics Show in which old age pensioners in Crumlin describe how they can no longer walk through their own village at night since the local station was closed. That is the reality.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I am giving you an example of something which has actually happened.

    Where did it happen ?

    If you think that closing police stations is a roaring success, which has released more police officers onto the streets, then I suggest that you watch Sunday’s Politics Show in which old age pensioners in Crumlin describe how they can no longer walk through their own village at night since the local station was closed.

    post hoc ergo propter hoc

    That is the reality.

    It sounds like the placebo effect to me.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Here’s a news article from last week detailing an attack on the home of two pensioners.

    Abbeyville Gardens is about a quarter of a mile from Whiteabbey Police Station at worst.

    I’ve yet to have an answer to my question about what evidence there is that having a bricks and mortar police station nearby does anything to prevent crime in the immediate vicinity. Talking about walking through certain neighbourhoods at night, I can think of loads of places that have police stations where I wouldn’t walk at night. Donegall Pass, York St, Tennent St …

  • Decimus

    Comrade Stalin,

    If I had intended to tell you where it happened then obviously I would already have done so. Have you watched the programme in question? The pensioners disagree with your theory that the lawnessness which has descended on their village since the closure of the police station has nothing to do with said closure. Perhaps if you ever reach old age and find yourself in a vulnerable position you might change your views.

  • Decimus

    I can think of loads of places that have police stations where I wouldn’t walk at night. Donegall Pass, York St, Tennent St …

    Comrade Stalin,

    The fact that Crumlin village has now managed to bring itself up to west Belfast standards is not a sign of progress.