DUP power sharing commitment questioned…

BOTH the SDLP and Sinn Fein are questioning the DUP’s commitment to power sharing, given their previous experience of the DUP in district councils. The DUP response points out that it hasn’t held the top post in Belfast during this term – although that hardly justifies the decades of exclusion where the DUP blocked nationalists from holding senior positions. The DUP has much convincing to do on this one.

  • peteb

    Sounds like the latest instalment of the avoid-the-blame game, Gonzo.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Nah – it’s just everyone angling for positions for next May.

    If the DUP can’t demonstrate they can stomach a republican or nationalist mayor in a unionist dominated council, they why would anyone trust them to power share in the Assembly?

    Actually, now you mention it, I think I can see the double purpose…

  • Keith M

    Can someone point out to me why when a party or group that are in a majority should voluntarily share it with a party who’s stated aim is exactly the oppositite to their own? It doesn’t happen in this country. It doesn’t happen in the rest of the UK. I know it’s conker season but have the SDLP got nothing else to worry about than this hollow old chestnut?

  • aquifer

    The DUP can repudiate power sharing with republicans on the basis that the republicans were obviously prepared to use violence to achieve their ends, but when during the conflict did the DUP during their various paramilitary (for that is what they where) stunts ever look like forswearing violence to defend their political and cultural privileges? There’s a sickly sweet smell in the neat suburbs and it’s not flowers.

  • Davros

    Personally speaking, I don’t think republicans can criticise the DUP for their unwillingness to power-share with Sinn F

  • pieman

    seems to me the sdlp have been caught out making fairly poor arguments – again

  • Dec

    Perhaps Davros, Aquifer and Pieman would care to explain why the DUP supported Hugh Smyth and Frank McCoubrey for Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor? Selective memory?

  • Davros

    Hypocrisy Dec. Something I have never denied in respect of the DUP. That doesn’t make their position in respect of SF wrong, it makes their position in respect of parties fronting for Loyalist paramilitaries wrong. Can you see the difference ?

  • Dec

    Davros

    I can.

    You claimed “they are not mandated by their voters to power-share “

    Hasn’t stopped them before with the UUP, UDP and the PUP.

    Or did you mean:

    “they are not mandated by their voters to power-share” with Catholics.

    The original topic concerned both the SDLP’s and SF’s reservations about DUP committment to power-sharing yet your post solely concerned itself with SF. Why didn’t the DUP support power-sharing with the SDLP? SF has only had representation at BCC since 1983 (I may be a year or so out). Why wasn’t there a Nationalist Lord Mayor until 1997?

  • Dec

    Apologies Davros.

    I reread your post and you did mention the SDLP (albeit at the bottom…in small font :]).
    As you rightly point out the DUP are full of it, to use the vernacular, on the subject of power-sharing.

  • Davros

    Dec, they are specifically mandated to not power-share with Sinn F

  • aquifer

    The GFA constitution of Northern Ireland, passed by a conclusive and inclusive 71% vote, makes power sharing a condition of participation in government it seems.

    If the DUP have allowed their voters to mandate them out of this then the British could accommodate this by reducing the amount of cross-community consensus required to keep things moving. e.g. Allow a government that contains say 25% of the representatives of the ‘other side’ to be considered ‘cross community’. If the 25% have disrespected the views of their supporters so much they will be gone after the next election.

    Less of this ‘nothing happens without me’ stuff please. We need oppostion parties if we are to avoid corruption and confusion.

  • Christopher Daigle

    Can someone point out to me why when a party or group that are in a majority should voluntarily share it with a party who’s stated aim is exactly the oppositite to their own? It doesn’t happen in this country. It doesn’t happen in the rest of the UK. I know it’s conker season but have the SDLP got nothing else to worry about than this hollow old chestnut?

    ——————————————

    Keith, in ethnically divided societies some sort of power sharing arrangements are essential to avoid conflict.
    If power sharing had been practiced in NI earlier the Troubles likely could have been avoided.

  • Davros

    Christopher, I think that’s unlikely. They might not have been as bad, they might not have been as prolongued, but even when Powersharing was up and running during Sunningdale and during the recent executive with two SF ministers there was still violence.

  • Fraggle

    Davros, nevermind sunningdale etc., if the unionist party hadn’t selfishly monopolized power to the strict exclusion of the nationalist party from the inception of that state, the troubles likely wouldn’t have occurred. even if the unionist party had tried to govern for the benefit of everyone here trouble may have been averted. now, because of the selfishness and stupidity of generations of unionist politicians, present day unionist are not permitted (by the colonial masters in london) to govern on a majority basis.

    oh, I’ve not said much in the colony-not a colony discussion but in my opinion, plantation was an example of colonization and not an example of the natural mixing that has always occurred in these islands. ultimately, it’s futile to argue over labels (such as whether the name provo covers PSF as well as PIRA).

  • willowfield

    Agree with the first of Fraggle’s paragraphs.

    As for the question of colonies, even if the Plantation was colonisation it doesn’t mean NI today is a colony.

  • Davros

    Davros, nevermind sunningdale etc., if the unionist party hadn’t selfishly monopolized power to the strict exclusion of the nationalist party from the inception of that state,

    Fraggle , you should really mention the abstentionist policies of nationalism that contributed. And remember, even in the early days when some unionists DID try to be inclusive the republican die-hards still used violence. Be honest. No matter how fair and inclusive a state had been established there would always have been
    republicans who held to Pearse et al belief that blood was needed.

  • willowfield

    Be honest. No matter how fair and inclusive a state had been established there would always have been republicans who held to Pearse et al belief that blood was needed.

    Of course there would, but they would have remained a sad, small, pathetic minority if it hadn’t been for the Unionist Party’s failure to promote a pluralist society and, more particularly, the Paisleyite opposition to modest civil rights reforms.

  • Davros

    Willowfield, I agree that most of the blame belongs with the Unionist Politicians of the day. I won’t accept that ALL the blame lies with them. It’s ridiculous to claim that there would have been no violence if only….and it goes along with attempts today to blame everything that happened in the past 30 years totally on Unionism and Unionists.

  • willowfield

    Of course, but Fraggle didn’t say there would have been no violence, he referred only to the Troubles, by which I assume he means the large scale violence from 1969 onwards, rather than the pathetic IRA campaigns of the 40s and 50s.

  • Davros

    Willowfield, Do you accept that everythiung thatbhappened here since 1969 was ultimately the fault of the Unionists ? I don’t.

    Read his post again.

    the strict exclusion of the nationalist party from the inception of that state,

    There’s an extremely offensive letter from Father Joe McVeigh in todays’ Irish news where he tries to shift the moral responsibility for their evil acts away from terrorists – he says we should put the blame for the “political violence” where it belongs. Disgusting.

  • willowfield

    Davros

    Willowfield, Do you accept that everythiung thatbhappened here since 1969 was ultimately the fault of the Unionists ?

    Of course not. And I never said that. But I agree with Fraggle that if Unionists hadn’t misapplied their power, it’s unlikely that the Troubles would have happened. That doesn’t mean that the blame for terrorism lies anywhere else than with the terrorists. It just means that the context would not have existed which enabled terrorists to operate. The Troubles resulted directly from the civil rights movement and – particularly – the opposition to the civil rights movement. Republicans were able to exploit this.

  • Moderate Unionist

    I am in agreement with Willowfield and Davros. The prolonged Unionist monopoly on power disenfranchised a significant proportion of the electorate and lead to a sterile political environment and ultimately the situation we now find ourselves in.

    However, it is interesting to consider why this came about and to accept that situations and contexts change making what looked obvious in one age totally unacceptable in another.

    If memory serves me, Northern Ireland was set up as “A Protestant country for a Protestant people” in direct response to the setting up of an Irish Republic which was to be “A Catholic country for a Catholic people”. This Catholic country for a long time endorsed an extremely conservative form of Catholicism, added to which was the extremely poor economic record. So it is possible to understand why the Unionists of the time did what they did. In retrospect and in light of the changed circumstances their actions (however well intentioned, and there is also no doubt that there were execesses such as gerry mandering) have produced the situation in which we now live.

    The question is “Where to now?”. We need an acceptable form of inclusive government, if we are to avoid the mistakes of the past. This requires a generousity of spirit which can only be developed by understanding the other person’s point of view. Only if people are assured that their liberties and way of life are secure will they be in a position to offer such generousity.

    This was what the good friday agreement attempted to do. It will be a long slow road and it requires political leaders on both sides with vision and courage. Given the current situation this is a particular challenge for the Unionist community.

    Despite a number of positive developments and some signficant changes in posture, the current stumbling block regarding decommissioning is very real. The issue of decommissioning is about trust not military capability. After several opportunities to resolve the issue we have now reached the stage were “No guns, No Government” is a necessary precondition of further political development.

  • George

    Moderate Unionist,
    “A Catholic country for a Catholic people” was never said by a politician south of the border.

    James Craig, Northern Ireland’s first Prime Minister did say “a Protestant state for a Protestant people”.

    The Protestant population of the Republic was still in possession of 26% of the nation’s wealth in 1960.

  • Davros

    I’m not sure you have Craig’s quote correct George

    In 1934 he told the House of Commons:

  • willowfield

    Think you need to withdraw that statement, George.

  • Butterknife

    Davros could you please look at that link for Sir Basil Brooke as me thinks its screwy.

    But good post….

  • Davros

    Sorry about that Butterknife, will try again

    Sir Basil Brooke, who was Prime Minister of `Northern Ireland’ for 20 years, synopsised the situation thus: “I have always said that I am an Orangeman first and a politician and a member of parliament afterwards… All I boast is that we have a Protestant parliament and a Protestant state.”

    It’s from a SF document of the early 90’s, below the oic and quote of Abraham Lincoln and just above what looks like a pic of Peter R ?

  • George

    Duly withdrawn.

  • Butterknife

    Its not Peter R. but Ric out of the Young Ones

  • Davros

    I’m coming round to thinking it’s John Kerry!

  • peteb

    I would just point out, Davros, that “Sinn F

  • Davros

    Thanks Pete πŸ™‚ I’m trying not to be TOO critical of Sinn F

  • peteb

    It was a point of information, Davros, that’s all :o)

  • Davros

    It’s odd Pete . Where are the APNI and SDLP posters these days ? We have the Unionists busy knocking hell’s bells out of each other and SF are getting a free ride πŸ˜‰ And amazingly , there are more women posting on ATW than Slugger!

  • ulsterman

    Sean McBride is an IRA NUT who should be arrested and shot.

  • Davros

    OK Ulsterman, let that be your mission in life πŸ˜‰

  • slackjaw

    That’s gonna take some doing, ulsterman!