Roy Garland, after musing at length on the Royal history of Dublin Castle, finally cuts to the chase and suggests that the chief ramification of a DUP victory could be the fragmentation of Unionism:
“There is little doubt that the DUP are hoping for a breakthrough in their bitter life-and-death struggle with the UUP. The problem is that even were they to find a formula and an electoral mandate to have first or second minister in partnership with Sinn Féin, many supporters would jump ship and the UUP could feel impelled to move decisively to the right at which point many pro-agreement unionists might desert.”
The problem he reckons is not within the leadership, but the constraints the party’s current support is likely to exert upon it:
“In the early 1970s Ian Paisley tried to present himself as a reasonable, moderate figure but soon found he was captive to his own right wing. Because of populist credentials and pandering to the lowest common denominator, the DUP offers nothing positive or creative to the people of Northern Ireland and Stalinist/Hitlerite alliances could prove highly unstable.”
However he is fairly sanguine about the potential of DUP engagement with interparty negotiations.
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