In the second edition of Ireland’s new political weekly The Village Arlene Foster rebutts the claim by made most recently by several nationalist commentators that the DUP’s pitch for accountablity is in fact a back door route to majority rule.She cites the party’s keynote Devolution Now (PDF) document, in which “…the DUP set out its support for weighted majorities and cross community support”.
Then she asks:
“No matter how false and mischievous the claims, how come this bigotry towards the DUP is more acceptable and goes unchallenged by few than if it was occurring in the other direction?”
She questions nationalist committment to equality suggesting it is strictly one way traffic:
“Nationalists bang on about it ad infinitem without challenge from anyone but unionists. Yet when unionists raise the inequalities of 50-50 recruitment, the anomalies in the Equality Commission, the suppression of unionist opinion in Queen’s Students Union, or ethnic cleansing against Protestants along the border or within North and West Belfast, they are dismissed with the same anecdotes about what happened in Northern Ireland fifty years ago. Apparently nationalists believe that two wrongs make a right”.
She beleives there’s been a mistaken perception:
“Perpetuating the myth that those who were anti-Agreement were anti-any agreement and the bigger problem, was and is a mistake. That approach merely served to push more and more unionists to say “enough is enough” so that the electoral mathematics now mean that things cannot feasibly move forward without the DUP”.
And there’s been a seachange:
“A healthy glow is now emerging from a unionism regaining confidence within itself regardless of what others think, but there are signs that the cold front against the DUP is thawing within the Government at least. Others need to catch up with the reality that in any future devolved administration the DUP are going to be the key players, taking decisions in more departments than anyone else. Moving away from majority rule cannot mean abandoning the entitlement to respect of the majority of the population”.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty