Unionist backroom: DUP comes out in the open

In answer to some critics, Gregory Campbell MP lays out his party’s conditions for re-negotiating the Belfast Agreement. He begins by rejecting the accusation that they are motivated by an anti-equality agenda:

“Republicans have tried to portray this non-acceptance as a refusal to countenance the ‘equality agenda’. This is not the case at all. It is because unionists are convinced that the current process disadvantages them and assists nationalism/republicanism that they so strongly resist it.”

He repeats his party’s challenge to Sinn Fein (one that seems to have been universalised within the last fortnight):

“Elevating terrorism alongside the diminution of democracy has to stop. Supporters of murder can and must be told the price of their continuing duplicity. It is either democracy or terror, but not both.”

On Stormont, the message is fresher, “the stand alone ministries have to be changed to make them accountable to the Assembly”, along with this he call for the East-West dimensions to be beefed up before full support can be given to the North/South bodies.

Interestingly, he talks about under representation of protestants within the Civil Service and the Housing Executive, and the lack of ‘anti-agreement representatives on the both the Parades and Human Rights Commissions, but there is no mention of the Patten Report and policing. This may be because strictly speaking Policing falls outside the agreement. But it seems a strange omission from what amounts to a launch of the DUP’s public campaign to win support for its revision of the Agreement.

It remains to be seen if this will represent a tough enough line for the party’s supporters, being more of a moderation of the Agreement than a radical re-modelling some may have expected.

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