Peter Robinson: in 50 years’ time the votes of the culturally Irish will help ensure union remains safe

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Peter Robinson light-heartedly suggested that DUP’s first ever spring policy conference today in Fermanagh “means that the G8 Summit has now been demoted to the second most important event in Fermanagh this year!”

DUP Nigel Dodds shadowThe full speech is available from the DUP website.

The DUP leader reassured delegates that Nigel Dodds “will be back at work on Monday and happily he’s been given a clean bill of health”. He hoped that the health scare would “bring about a greater understanding of the enormous workload, gruelling schedule, intense pressure and heavy burden constantly placed upon our elected representatives”.

In the speech he didn’t directly address the recent soap opera of falling out and making up with Martin McGuinness.

The last few months have been demanding and dangerous times for our political process. For the first time in many years, people feared that we could be slipping back to the bad old days. And no matter how difficult or frustrating our politics becomes, no one wants to go back to the way things used to be.

I don’t need to tell you that Stormont isn’t all we would wish it to be, but even in its existing form, it underpins the peace, stability and prosperity that has been won.

Six years after we restored devolution and entered the Executive, some have questioned our commitment to this process. The real question is not whether we want to be in government or have to be in government; the fact is the people of Northern Ireland need us to be in government.

Peter Robinson delivered a report card on the various shares of unionism:

Many people are still coming to terms with the new political dispensation. It is an outlook of many contradictions. There is no single perspective. Some have moved on more than others.

Many unionists recognise the need to move this region forward with the widest possible consensus. Other Unionists don’t like to see Sinn Fein in government, but know they have to be there. They want their representatives to stand up for their own community, but they know that we have to work with everyone to get things done.

A small section of unionism opposes what we are doing, and what the electorate democratically voted for and they have been seeking to create issues to stir up and agitate voters and try to use touchstone issues to damage the process we are involved in.

Still others believe that the public has moved ahead of the politicians and that politics is irrelevant to their everyday lives. They are frustrated that politicians can’t agree a way ahead – usually, it has to be said, right up to the point where compromise has an impact upon them.

This frustration is often fed by some in the media who should know better.

On the Maze Long Kesh site:

The notion that the DUP would have anything to do with building a shrine to terrorism is frankly as preposterous and absurd as it is offensive.

Let’s be clear about the facts. The UUP released the terrorists from the Maze. UUP representatives then chose and proposed the Maze as the location for the Peace Centre, and the then UUP leader endorsed that choice. The UUP-led Maze panel asked that former Maze Prison structures including the prison hospital be listed and retained. This too was endorsed by the then UUP leader.

Having irreversibly locked these elements into the Maze Plan their new leader opposes both the location of the Peace Centre at the Maze that his party proposed and he wants to see the buildings his party had listed to be now delisted …

As with policing and justice, the proof of the pudding will be in the eating. We will not be judged by our opponents’ attempts to mislead and distort. We will not be judged by their fiction but by the reality of what emerges on the ground at the site. There will be no shrine and when the project is completed we will be happy for people make their minds up about what has been created.

And if any of those who today have so much to say have the scruples to be embarrassed they will have red faces when the site is developed.

On the Union Flag …

The decision to take down the Union Flag at Belfast City Hall was a disaster for Northern Ireland as a whole. By any standards it was an aggressive and unnecessary step. Because if republicans are intent on a cultural war you can be certain of one thing – it will be a battle that will have no winners.

The settled, if delicate equilibrium, in Belfast was overturned at a stroke with all of the consequences that we have witnessed in the last few months.

Jobs lost, tourists deterred, business damaged, potential investment threatened, security costs soaring, police officers injured, young lives blighted with criminal records and community relations compromised – these are the product of that decision and its aftermath.

If we want to fight the battles of the last 40 years for the next 40 years then the peace that has been won will never deliver the prosperity the Province needs. There are enough problems in our society to be sorted out without trying to fix things that weren’t broken in the first place.

Peter Robinson sought not to apportion blame but came perilously close two sentences later to …

There is no profit from spending time apportioning blame, but there is revenue in reflecting on the lessons to be drawn. If a collective failure caused the problems then only a collective approach will solve them. Precipitating a crisis by voting to take the Union Flag down from City Hall and then expecting everyone else to pick up the pieces is not a recipe for success.

Stormont needed to “take advantage of the opportunities that we have” in terms of international goodwill.

He cited the Unionist Forum as an example of “positive action [resulting] from the fall out to the flags dispute”.

The creation of the Unionist Forum has brought together probably the most representative group of unionists in the last half century. It offers the opportunity for unionists from all backgrounds to hear directly the perspectives from other parties and groupings and from the wider unionist family.

Any unionist who is in touch with the unionist community will know the greatest frustrations among our people are the divisions within unionism itself. The Unionist Forum is neither a panacea for all of the challenges facing unionism, nor is it an excuse to turn our backs on the rest of the community.

And I say that, because there are nationalist politicians who have reacted to the creation of the Unionist Forum with a response that borders on paranoia. Some, who have benefitted from unionism being divided, fear the prospect of unionists working together. But more importantly, others fail to understand that there is greater potential for making agreements across the community which will endure if unionism can speak with one voice on the issues of the day.

Many of the problems that face unionism are not short-term but are deep-seated. They did not come about overnight and will not be solved overnight either.

Next week the Unionist Forum will meet again at plenary level, but the real work is being done in the sub-groups and I hope that before too long this engagement will begin to pay dividends.

Who can argue that unionism and Northern Ireland are not better off if we can agree a common position on key issues to allow us to move forward?

He thanked Nigel Lutton for “agreeing to be the agreed Unionist candidate and congratulate him for an outstanding result … in a seat where there was never any realistic chance of victory was a remarkable achievement”.

On future cooperation and the European election next June:

I am open to working together with other unionist parties to maximise our representation in every elected chamber. On some occasions this will involve agreed candidates or single unionist candidates and in others it will simply be a case of urging our supporters after they have voted DUP to supply further transfers to other unionist candidates. While we may not agree on everything there is still a lot more that unites us.

I want to see two unionists returned at the next European election and I want as many unionists as possible returned to Westminster at the next General Election.

Given the present state of the parties some colleagues believe that the best chance of getting two unionists elected to Europe is for us to field two candidates. Others believe it would be better to urge our supporters to give a second preference vote to the UUP. And we must also be aware that there may be other unionist candidates who might seek our support and transfers.

Rest assured that whatever decision the Officers and Executive take will be in the best interests of unionism as a whole.

Peter Robinson commented on nationalist and unionist outreach campaigns, and reminded DUP members why votes from those who felt more culturally Irish would be important in the future:

We all know that Sinn Fein’s so-called outreach campaign to the unionist community stands in stark contrast to what they actually do on the ground. So we must be careful not to make the same mistake in our efforts to reach out to the Catholic community.

The BBC poll in particular came as a great shock to Sinn Fein. To this day they remain in denial that more Catholics would vote to stay within the UK rather than join a united Ireland. And that is because they just don’t understand the complex changes to society in Northern Ireland.

The old Orange-Green, British-Irish dichotomy no longer adequately sums up the myriad of shades of identity here. Unionists, as much as nationalists, need to come to terms with the changing environment.

The old-style unionist majority is a thing of the past, but we have within our grasp the opportunity to establish a new more broadly based voter consensus which will guarantee Northern Ireland’s position within the United Kingdom for generations to come.

While republicans refuse to face up to the implications of the BBC poll, we should ensure that we fully understand and appreciate what the numbers actually mean.

There are those in the Catholic community who are and always have been committed unionists. But the majority of those Catholics who would opt to remain as a part of the United Kingdom do not vote for the DUP or UUP. Most of them, if they vote at all, will, at least in the short term, vote according to long-established community patterns for nationalist parties. For the most part, they support the present constitutional position, not because of the emotional attachment that we feel, but because, quite legitimately, they believe it will provide them with the best opportunities for the future. Most are more likely to feel culturally Irish than they are to feel culturally British.

In 50 years’ time, it will be the votes of this sector that will help ensure that Northern Ireland’s position as part of the United Kingdom remains safe.

Our biggest challenge must be to show everyone that devolution is delivering and that politics and devolution within the United Kingdom can make a difference to them. Stormont must not be seen as “that building on the hill”, but as an active player in people’s lives. We must devise policies that will help people deal with the issues that are important to them. [Emphasis added]

On the Executive’s priorities and a shared future:

The two most pressing issues facing the Executive are building a shared society and growing the economy and consequently creating jobs.

Let us ensure that the new Northern Ireland is not just economically prosperous, but that we are living at peace with ourselves and each other.

That will only be done by building a shared and united community.

That doesn’t need the publication of any document, it means taking tangible steps on the ground.

A lot has already been done, but a step change is required. [Emphasis added]

Corporation Tax was still on his agenda and would be a “game changer”.

I know how much we already have to offer. The addition of a low rate of Corporation Tax would make our pitch unbeatable at home and abroad.

It is disappointing that some have already given up the battle. Perhaps that would be the safe thing to do. But to put the safeguarding of one’s own job ahead of the potential to create tens of thousands of jobs for our fellow countrymen would be unworthy of any leader.

To avoid the political risks of failure but consign Northern Ireland to long-term dependency is not my style of politics. Let us be clear and face hard facts together.

Firstly, without such a game-changer and even with the steady and gradual year on year improvements that we are capable of making using our present economic levers and operating within existing fiscal constraints, Northern Ireland 10 years (even 20 years) from now will have narrowed but not closed the gap in economic terms with other parts of the UK. Such a long drawn out “rebalancing” is not acceptable.

Secondly, the Conservative Party publicly pledged and committed itself to rebalancing our economy and has developed, with us, what we both consider to be a doable instrument to reach that goal. I further believe that if the power to enable us to set a lower level of Corporation Tax is not devolved by this present government – during this present Parliament – it will never be delivered by any future government, at least, not within my political lifetime. That’s why we must relentlessly continue to press for this power.

Everyone in the party was encouraged to play a part in shaping policy.

It is the start of a process to harness all the talents that we have at our disposal.

People who know and understand every aspect of our society and community because of the lives they lead have a powerful role to play in making a difference.

The task of creating a better society should not rest on our Ministers and elected representatives alone but should be the aspiration and mission of every one of us.

Divided unionism cropped up again in the speech:

At this time of flux within unionism, the DUP is the only constant.

While some parties fracture and others are formed we need to keep our focus.

It has never been more clear that we are the only party that can keep Northern Ireland moving forward.

Other parties may have the capacity to carp and criticise from the bleachers.

He finished:

Let us go out from this conference today, our ambition raised, willing to fight without fading for what we believe in. Our determination multiplied and our passion for the cause undiminished by the passage of the years or the fierceness of the fray. With a commitment to complete the journey and reach our goal. And possessed of the humility to acknowledge that we are here above all else – to serve.

Perhaps Slugger readers who attended the policy conference will comment on what kind of policies were on the table for discussion today, and the ways in which the membership was being actively involved in exploration, debate and decision.

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  • Ruarai


    the fact is the people of Northern Ireland need us to be in government

    Says it all. He epitomizes the current inertia that flows a culture where people think they’re doing by merely being.

    No Peter, we don’t need you to be in govt – though granted, by growing the trough to the currently absurdly large ratio of elected politicians: citizens we have managed to neuter and distract some of the most destabilizing characters in the region.

    We need you to lead a functioning, relevant, purposeful government. You know: to govern; to legislate; to move the society – not narrow factional interests – forward.

    You’ve failed.

    Think you could give it a try? Or get out of the way for those who might?

  • Mick Fealty

    This is one of those things that might be better known, and not said…

  • Ruarai

    Said the Bishop to the priest…

    Better to (and time) to let the light in Mick. Better than than have the whole damn place flooded.

  • Mick Fealty

    Cynical…

  • Ruarai

    There are, it’s usually forgotten, two types of cynic: Those skeptical about the reality of power and those skeptical about the very idea of anyone taking power.

    The former is generally a sign of an active citizen, the later the sign of a nay-sayer.

    Everyone should pursue the former as a minimum requirement of citizenship while holding the later, however tempting, at bay as a minimum requirement of that same citizenship.

    My call for doing something useful is in camp one, obviously.

    But you’ve created a new camp 3 methinks: An approach to citizenship based on scolding anyone who points out the emperor’s nudity!

    What’s the word for that? :)

  • newgal

    As for the idea of the DUP fielding two candidates at the Euro elections, I suspect that this is little more than a threat aimed at the UUP in order to extract from them support for agreed candidates at the Westminster election the following year – notably East, North and South Belfast, Upper Bann where the DUP will expect to run one of their own and FST where it could be from either party and with the carrot dangled in front of Mike Nesbitt that the DUP might support a UUP candidate in North Down.

    I also suspect that Mike Nesbitt will accept it if Mid-Ulster and its aftermath is anything to go by.

  • BluesJazz

    newgal
    we knew this ages ago. Mike wants his Muttley medal (Strangford) from his master.
    Cue tailspin and yeah yeah yeah from the snickering hound.

    However, in the cartoon, things never worked out as planned for Dick Dasterdley and his cynical canine.
    May it be ever thus.

  • Hopping The Border

    Robinson can keep on peddling this fantasy to the DUP masses but as long as the he and the DUP turn a blind eye to the “inyourfaceism” Unionism of flagging, kerb painting and certain parades together with the inability of some of his colleagues to accept that Irish culture has a place in Northern Ireland (Nelson, Ian, Gregory) and the influence of flat earthers, the Calebans and other christian fundamentalists on the DUP the idea that the “culturally Irish” will ever vote for them will remain exactly that, a fantasy, even if some of them actually quite like living in the Union.

  • Hopping The Border

    *”but as long as the he and” – whoops slight typo!

  • GEF

    “Peter Robinson: in 50 years’ time the votes of the culturally Irish will help ensure union remains safe”

    I wonder if Robbo is basing his belief on this NL article.

    MANY CATHOLICS WANT TO STAY IN THE UK
    http://www.google.co.uk/url?q=http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/politics/latest/many-catholics-want-to-stay-in-uk-1-5039743&sa=U&ei=crN8UaekCofYPe7IgaAE&ved=0CCUQqQIoADAA&usg=AFQjCNECDwPL6kPVPFYuu0lf9Aim29x60g

    But question remains, if true who do these Castle Catholics vote for at present? Certainly not the DUP or UUP.

    Anyway, Love them or loath them under the present Westminster government cut backs on welfare reform ( housing benefit & bedroom tax etc etc) for SF & DUP to stay in government in NI. Together they will stand up for the under classes (Protestant & Catholic) better than the hi diddle diddle class parties UUP, SDLP or Alliance would.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    WHO is culturally Irish and who isn’t?!

    This British vs Irish thing gets more and more absurd.

    So if I go into a pub in London during the 6 nations to support Ireland with a Catholic (by baptism, but ultimatly atheist) pro-unification friend of mine and then what, every one can tell that I’m ‘culturally British’?

    Go back a few decades in London: “Yes Mr bar-keep, I did indeed see the ‘no blacks, no dogs, no Irish sign on display on your front door, but as I’m ‘culturally British’ I expect to be served without let or hindrance…”

    Surely by gloating about the existence of Catholic unionists is enough to make some of the Catholic Unionists re-consider their stance, if not just to wipe that smug look off his face?

    “Ah great! Yet another undeserved unionist bridge, some one hand me that Jerry can of petrol and some matches please, thankyou very much…”

  • newgal

    Bluesjazz

    Nesbitt can hope for Strangford until all of Ireland votes to join a free independent Scotland in an arc of whatevery – but he won’t get it for te DUP already hold it through Jim Shannon and did so despite all of the Iris Robinson stuff – so the DUP won’t hand it over and Nesbitt won’t be able to unseat Shannon.

    But over the way in North Down, especially if as has been speculated ‘the Lady’ doesn’t run again the DUP could stand aside for the UUP (Nesbitt?) along with FST in return for North, East and South Belfast and Upper Bann.

    If Nesbitt entered a General Election with 0 MPs and came out of it with 2 – even the UUP would probably not get into yet another leadership panic

  • Neil

    Was searching in vain for an article that was on the Belfast Tele site yesterday by Alex Kane. It looks like they’ve stuck it up and taken it down again for some reason, but it’ll be back.

    In it he says that when Peter Robinson talks to the Unicorns in his conferences he’s actually talking to his own voters and those of Alliance in East Belfast. I agree. Quite a lot of Peter’s behaviour and by extension the DUP’s behaviour has seemed very focussed on the East Belfast seat. He wants to appear moderate which is funny as it’s very much not in keeping with his character, he’s just cold and irritable.

    One wonders whether the anger in the Loyalist community and (for entirely different reasons) the moderate voters out there will come back to bite the DUP in the arse. Certainly the flag facebook pages seem almost as anti DUP as they are anti SF, the PUP look to make political hay and that new party – what do you call em? Nope, can’t remember – has been formed possibly further splitting the PUL vote wherever they stand.

    Those leaflets in Alliance yellow, directing people’s ire over a BCC decision towards a Westminster MP who had no say in the issue might begin to look a bit dumb.

  • FDM

    @PeterRobinson

    “The settled, if delicate equilibrium”.

    Peter we are not in an equilibirum position. Politics is all shifting sands. We are eventually exiting the “unionist” hegemony period and are entering a new era of what will be nationalist dominated politics. Demographic change already in counted and in the system will ensure that Northern Ireland will become majority Catholic in less than 5 years. Hence the changing of the face of our failing democracy is changing. Peters “equilibrium” position is merely the “unionist” past, which we keep telling him just won’t do anymore. The GFA was a transitionary agreement. We are therefore in a period of flux, where the only constant is change.

    “The creation of the Unionist Forum has brought together probably the most representative group of unionists in the last half century.”

    It was representative of “unionism”. Every single person who attended was protestant. Hence your problem Peter.

    “I am open to working together with other unionist parties to maximise our representation in every elected chamber.”

    Given the make-up of the “unionist” forum this means that all that representation would naturually be protestant. Hence the sectarian nature of “unionism” is underscored again.

    “Some, who have benefitted from unionism being divided, fear the prospect of unionists working together.”

    “Unionist” unity will be the elixir that kills them. It will also highlight the fact that they just don’t have the numbers anymore.

    “There are those in the Catholic community who are and always have been committed unionists.”

    This is just a bare faced lie. Can Peter Robinson or anyone else for that matter provide me with a single vote or election result that can clearly demonstrate Catholics voting for the union? ANY election ANY time in this region will do.

    “But the majority of those Catholics who would opt to remain as a part of the United Kingdom do not vote for the DUP or UUP.”

    So the majority of the people who you can’t actually prove voting for “unionist” policies at ANY election would not actually vote for you at an election. Oh thats good Peter.

    “In 50 years’ time, it will be the votes of this sector that will help ensure that Northern Ireland’s position as part of the United Kingdom remains safe.”

    Which still evades the biggest question facing protestant nationalism [aka "unionism"] right now. Peter himself admits that Catholics won’t vote for him or the UUP. He admits that they vote for Irish nationalist parties. How is Northern Ireland going to look and feel under nationalist dominated politics? It certainly won’t resemble anything like today.

    Peter has to lead his people in anticipating ALL the changes that are coming and develop coping mechanisms for them to rationalise that change without burning East Belfast every time things don’t suit.

    If Peter and co. and their followers don’t get with the programme of change then they faced being steam-rollered by democracy.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    FDM


    “The creation of the Unionist Forum has brought together probably the most representative group of unionists in the last half century.”

    It was representative of “unionism”. Every single person who attended was protestant. Hence your problem Peter.

    Exactly, how does he not ‘get’ this?

    ““But the majority of those Catholics who would opt to remain as a part of the United Kingdom do not vote for the DUP or UUP.””

    THEN. WHY. WON’T. YOU. CREATE. SOMETHING. THAT. IS. MORE. APPEALING. TO. THEM. GENIUS?

  • Congal Claen

    Hi FDM,

    “Can Peter Robinson or anyone else for that matter provide me with a single vote or election result that can clearly demonstrate Catholics voting for the union? ANY election ANY time in this region will do.”

    Enoch Powell being elected several times in South Down despite the religious makeup suggesting otherwise. I also believe rev Ian polled well in certain catholic areas – Rathlin, although small, being one…
    I also know prods who vote the other way. Shocking isn’t it?

  • Roy Walsh

    Certainly Peter, you would think that but, I’d suggest, in 50 year’s time, you’ll be dead while I’ll be expecting my letter from the President.

  • FDM

    @Congal Claen

    “Enoch Powell being elected several times in South Down despite the religious makeup suggesting otherwise”.

    Enoch was parachuted into a safe “unionist” seat. Eddie McGrady took it away from him. Did the unicorns change their mind?

    “I also believe rev Ian polled well in certain catholic areas – Rathlin, although small, being one…”

    Its possible, there are always anomalies, I would like to see the numbers though.

    What I was asking for as evidence was serious percentages that would withstand scrutiny. That couldn’t be anythig else other than serious numbers of Catholics voting for the UUP and DUP. However to be honest this was more of rhetorical question since Peter and I both know that this has never happened.

    @Am Ghobsmacht

    “Exactly, how does he not ‘get’ this?”

    The problem for Peter is he is not selling “unionism”. He is actually selling protestant nationalism. A complete turn-off to anyone outside that collective and he is serving this up to an electorate that knows the DUP for what it is.

    Peters problem is that if he tries to attract the “culturally Irish”, then he moves his party away from the people who ELECT the DUP for being a protestant nationalist party. Hence his quandary.

    http://www.indymedia.ie/attachments/jul2007/paisley1969.gif

    Know a leopard by his spots…

  • babyface finlayson

    FDM
    “The creation of the Unionist Forum has brought together probably the most representative group of unionists in the last half century.”
    I don’t disagree with the broad thrust of what you are saying but really I think the Unionist Forum was intended to be a talking shop for Unionists so I can’t see how that is sectarian.
    But if you are saying that Unionist parties are more sectarian than Nationalist parties in terms of the religious background of their support, well to be honest I suspect you might be right, but I don’t have any particular evidence for this.
    Do you?
    Any figures on Prods voting for Nationalist parties?

  • FDM

    @babyface finlayson

    ” so I can’t see how that is sectarian.”

    It demonstrated that it was a broad protestant church.

    sec·tar·i·an (sk-târ-n)
    adj.
    1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of a sect.
    2. Adhering or confined to the dogmatic limits of a sect or DENOMINATION; partisan.
    3. Narrow-minded; parochial.
    n.
    1. A member of a sect.
    2. One characterized by bigoted adherence to a factional viewpoint.

    The prosecution rests.

    “Any figures on Prods voting for Nationalist parties”.

    It is a fair point, not to hand. However SF did have an ex-RUC councillor in Derry. St. Paul on the road to Tarsus? If an Irish/nationalist forum were held and there were only Catholics at it I don’t think I could bring myself to attend. I would see this as an anathema and clearly not representative of the people of the island. I would see it as sectarian and therefore divisive.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi FDM,

    It is widely recognised that lots of catholics voted for Enoch Powell. That’s how he held onto South Down for so long.

    “If an Irish/nationalist forum were held and there were only Catholics at it I don’t think I could bring myself to attend. I would see it as sectarian and therefore divisive.”

    If prods attended it would still be sectarian. Sectarianism isn’t just defined by religion. Sectarianism may be the expression of a group’s nationalistic or cultural ambitions. So, an Irish/Nationalist forum is in itself sectarian before there’s any exploration of the religious makeup of the group.

  • FDM

    @Congal Claen

    “It is widely recognised that lots of catholics voted for Enoch Powell. That’s how he held onto South Down for so long”

    The stats don’t seem to bear that point out. Between the boundary changes and demographic shifts it looks pretty straight forward.

    “If prods attended it would still be sectarian.” Ireland happens to be a lot more diverse than protestant/catholic. Thank goodness. We have provided an Israeli head of state and a chief Rabbi to the Israeli state from the Cliftonville Road in Belfast alone.

    We will have to agree to disagree that calling individuals to attend an Irish/Nationalist forum would in itself be a sectarian act.

    All of which has nothing to do with the reflection that 12 months futrther down the line that Peter is still a “rabbit in the headlines” politician with nothing but old rhetoric to sell.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi FDM,

    I’m from South Down and it was common knowledge.

    “We will have to agree to disagree that calling individuals to attend an Irish/Nationalist forum would in itself be a sectarian act.”

    There’s no agree to disagree on this issue. You yourself gave several definitions of sectarianism. Conveniently, this ignores the nationalist/cultural aspect of sectarianism. Religion and nationalism are just different faces of the sectarian coin…

  • GEF

    I wouldnt worry about the DUP Mr Frazer:
    and his new Protestant Coalition “will take on the DUP

    http://www.impartialreporter.com/news/roundup/articles/2013/04/27/400748-audio-frazer-protestant-coalition-will-take-on-the-dup/

  • GavBelfast

    I’m increasingly of the view that a so-called “border poll” is needed to help clear-the-air (a bit) and maybe encourage a bit of real politics on the other side of it (wherever that is).

    The place is in stasis.

  • FDM

    @GavBelfast

    “The place is in stasis.”

    I disagree Gav. The place is in flux. Change in the air.

    “Unionists” are desperately plugging holes in the dyke and running out of fingers.

    Never worry Rory McIlroy will save the day.

  • GavBelfast

    Fluxing stasis, then.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    FDM

    “The problem for Peter is he is not selling “unionism”. He is actually selling protestant nationalism. A complete turn-off to anyone outside that collective and he is serving this up to an electorate that knows the DUP for what it is”

    Do you think there’s a chance he might wake up and realise that it’s an ever shrinking portion of the market or will he have to crank up the nut-job-nationalistic-o-meter to ’11′ to stop people jumping to the TUV and Frazer’s non-political, political,’culturally Protestant’ party (that will and won’t contest seats)?

    Now I’ve went and depressed myself.

    Tea anyone?

  • http://www.ur2die4.com/ amanfromMars

    “Six years after we restored devolution and entered the Executive, some have questioned our commitment to this process. The real question is not whether we want to be in government or have to be in government; the fact is the people of Northern Ireland need us to be in government.” … Peter Robinson

    What the people of Northern Ireland need is Governance which Governs and Improves Conditions, Peter. In that there has been nothing but failure delivered in spades.

    Who you gonna call to direct blame in the shame and the sham? SpAds? DUP Media Masters?

    The DUP does have Virtual Reality Programmers working in IT Communications Consulting on their SMARTR Media Team, right? If not, then is that a vacancy to be filled.

    The Democratic Unionist Party does have SMARTR Media Team Training, right, with Revisionary Script Programming for Future Projects in Titanic Quarter AIdDVentures? Or is that a Private Intellectual Property Package to attract Funding and Energy from Foreign Shores and Alien Lands to here, where IT will show how IT Builds and Runs Futures Remotely with Virtual Control of Reality and Beta Media Management of Human Perception and/or Virtual Machine Programs?

    No matter ….. any which way is win win with nothing to lose.

  • aquifer

    So Peter will be supporting our new bill of rights, protecting a households right to live in a house undisturbed by Orange or Green mobs.

    Time to decommission the politics of the pogrom.

  • Greenflag

    He may well be right .Much will depend on how the current Eurozone never ending crisis finally ends and more particularly how it affects the Republic and the UK’s economies .

    The ‘sovereign ‘state is not what it was and in a ‘nationalist ‘ dominated political entity i.e a future NI people may feel they can be as Irish or not as Irish as they want to be . Much will also depend on general unionist reaction to issues such as the Irish language and other facets of Irish historical remembrance within NI . A less paranoid ‘unionism ‘ could be it’s greatest asset in terms of maintaining the union .

    A week is a long time in politics and a year has been described as an eternity so looking ahead 50 years is more properly the job of a futurist- or an oracle ‘or a ‘nostradamus ‘

    50 years ago it was 1963 and 50 before that it was 1913 . I read recently that in Vienna in 1913 one could have bumped into Freud , Hitler , Stalin , and Tito who all lived within a mile of each other in that city , and no one could have foretold what the latter three would leave in their wake by the time they were ‘finished ‘ .In 1963 who would foreseen the collapse of the USSR , authoritarian capitalism in China, an apartheid free South Africa or an African American US President or indeed the upcoming 40 years of sectarian strife in Northern Ireland ? And as for the globalised information led economy and cloud data ?

    For NI nationalists much will also depend on how the Republic emerges from it’s current financial strictures and demonstrates it has learned it’s ‘lesson ‘. On the other hand the EU was supposed to be a mechanism which would reconcile Germany to a wider Europe . It now seems under Kanzlerin Merkiavelli that the smaller European nations such as Greece , Portugal , Cyprus , Ireland etc are being coerced via EU mechanisms into becoming mere adjuncts and vehicles to further the German interest . If this current seeming scenario remains unchanged the EU will break up and either implode or divide into a north /south two speed conglomeration of states .

    The best hope for Irish nationalists and republicans is that a big enough cohort within NI unionism maintain it’s pavlovian anti everything Irish stance with occasional forays into parade issue thuggery and flag waving hysteria . These are the type of ‘unionists ‘ that help bring out the nationalist /republican vote.

    And on that note well done the British Legion for refusing to fly the Union Jack at the Cenotaph every .day and restrict it to official remembrance events thus keeping it above sectarian politics.