"Green" light for the DUP ?

Bertie Ahern is reported as saying in a speech this evening at Trinity College that the Irish and British governments are prepared to make changes to the operation of the 1998 Peace Agreement in order to restore the Northern Assembly at Stormont.

Ahern would change agreement to restore assembly

  • Mark McGregor

    Same old, same old = story ?

  • Davros

    How do you read it Mark ? Have the DUP had a success or is it a sop ?

  • Butterknife

    So basically the review process is being spun to make it look like the changes are a new agreement.

  • willowfield

    A nothing story.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    So it is all down to what the parties regard as ‘fundamentals’. What is the odds that what the DUPers regard as ‘fundamnetals’ are that bit different to everyone else.
    If everyone is going to give the DUPers the political equivalent of the emperors’ new clothes lets just get on with it.

  • Davros

    Even if this is only Emperor’s New Clothes, if this is what it takes, it’s progress.

  • Moderate Unionist

    Doesn’t sound like a new agreement is in the offing. It looks like an attempt to put pressure on the DUP by way of public opinion to accept a political fudge wherin the DUP can claim changes have been made and SF can claim there are none.

    Will the DUP buy it?

  • Butterknife

    True it’s not a new agreement but a successful review of the Belfast Agreement. If the two Governments believe they need to give added window dressing to this fact then the DUP must be preparing to sell something to their supporters. The so called fair deal, (even if it was an important election gimmick) now is irrelevant: the only thing that matters now is progress.
    Are we going to enter 2005 with Direct Rule still in place?
    Fitzgerald once said, years ago while being interviewed in London, that if the DUP despised their prime minister so much then why did they entrust his government with Direct Rule instead of Home Rule, for it would mean a more ‘green’ form of rule in future. Gerry Adams et al. was just making the same point a few days ago but with his own unique spin.

  • queens_unionist

    I think that the irish governemts new sggestions/ammendments will be political fudge but that the pressure will not be applied by them. More likely that the DUP will feel the pressure from the mandate they have from the northern irish public.
    This therefore i putting pressure on them NOT to accept the wrong deal.
    It is clearly just a matter of waiting until the DUP get what they and their voters want.
    The DUP also have to be seen to be working to acheive this or else the voters they had in the european elections will not see things being delivered and therefore loose faith in the party.
    If a new deal was on the table tomorrow and was acceptable to the DUP i believe they would snatch it, but until then…

    Surely it is not democracy when parties like the UUP and SDLP are denyin the peoples right to change the belfast agreemtn when the majority of them went and voted for a party thatset out to change it?

  • jonty

    Id love to know how the UUP are stopping the DUP making a deal with the IRA? This is more tired spin from the dupes, when in doubt blame trimble.

  • queens_unionist

    the DUP making a deal with the IRA have you forgot, you jump we’ll follow and other notorious phrases?
    a few old arms brought to an anonymous dump and this was decomissioning.
    Trimble has sold out northern ireland too many times and this time he has been stopped. But that is not the debate in this thread.
    The UUP are somehwat jealous of the DUP in that they are achieving what thy tred to a few years ago but are resisting the pressure from all sides when being told to negotiate and sacrifice/surrender more to the IRA.
    clearly the DUP have not done any of this so…heres waiting

  • jonty

    Queens Unionist – sorry but your in denial. Rememebr when / if the assembly gets up and running it will be as a DUP/SF/IRA coalitoin with Ian and Martin sharing the top 2 posts, together with the Dupers promise to the IRA that they will never bring stormont down again even if the IRA return to war

  • queens_unionist

    Yes but only if sinn fein/IRA show clear transparent and believable decommisioning.
    something the UUP never achieved.
    It is quite obvious to the non-UUP voter/member that the UUP is on its last legs.
    The party is has lost many valuable assets has lost voters and, wel did it ever have any confidence in its leader?
    To think this party will ever have a worthwhile say in Northern Ireland politics would be very foolish.
    Remember on lets talk a few months back you candidate David clearly said Sinn Fein must get minister for policing etc etc. Hardly unionists view at heart?

  • jonty

    qUEENS UNIONIST – It was your party deputy leader that said any member of sinn fien could take the Justice/policing post so long as they did not have terrorist records. That opened the door for Gerry adams or Pat doherty, to name a few, to take the post.

    It is the DUP who will let sinn fein/ira take the role. Remmebr Ian Jr recently called Gerry the godfather of terrorism, when will gerry cease to hold this positioN????

  • Butterknife

    Sold out? Now we know what brand of unionist you are queens_unionist a lap dog for the Taliban protestant DUP. The more extreme you get in your thinking the more extreme the ‘other’ ideology gets. Guns where never the real issue although it helped confidence when decommissioned – ask the UDA to decommission (sorry wouldn’t want to upset the DUP’s main supporter base) – it’s the mindset we have to change: and how do we change the mindset, but to show politics working. I saw in the Newsletter and other sources where security ‘normalisation’ is speeding up … is this still the UUP’s fault?

  • queens_unionist

    jonty… you still have not commened on the fact that the UUp’s candidate on Lets talk when asked would a sinn fein candidate be made minister for policing and justice reponded Oh THEY HAVE TO BE.
    somewhat confused on this??!

    BK…guns never a real issue? well what country are you in?
    UDA DUP’s main supporter, i would say the terrorists in the UDA have no more concern about NI politics than,fidel castro,
    also since when were they majority of the NI public in the UDA?or did they suddenly recruit come election time?

  • jonty

    Queens, as the dupes keep telling us it is the DUP as the largest party who will get a deal with sinn fein/ira. It will the dupes who allow the godfather of terrorism to take the justice post, no one else

  • Butterknife

    The full stop indicates the end of the sentence queens_unionist, I suggest you remember that for future reference.

    I hate to bring this up but a DUP member on that show refused to amend his leader’s bigoted comment about calling all journalists Romanists. No doubt many of them are Roman Catholic and proud of it but when he said it at Stormont, his cronies were laughing quite sinisterly – suggesting an ulterior motive to the comment – which by the way turned out to be true, as he himself testified as to ‘walking in the valley of death’ or words to that effect.

    Its nice to know that you consider the UDA’s interest into the politics of Northern Ireland, a country that many perceive loyally as belonging to them as irrelevant as Fidel Castro’s interest – by the way there is a monument to the IRA in Cuba so he does have such an interest. But notwithstanding that I hope the supporters from Lisburn that are UDA members and have been taken in by the lies of the DUP are reading your views of their organisation.

  • willowfield

    A nothing story.

    We already know the DUP have accepted the Agreement but they need a fig-leaf (changing the accountability arrangements for ministers) to pretend they’ve negotiatied a “new” agreement.

    As Butterknife says, if it happens it will be a successful review. The DUPes will pretend it’s a new agreement, but it’ll still involve devolution, power-sharing, prisoner releases, police reform, cross-border bodies, “equality” agenda, criminal justice reform, human rights commission and bill of rights, etc., etc.

  • Butterknife

    queens_unionist
    Before you go away does your views towards the UDA represent the DUPs’ official line? For i know for certain that the DUP are relying on UDA support.

  • Moderate Unionist

    Queens
    Welcome to the world of politics. 🙂

    The DUP have an opportunity and a mandate for a new agreement. Let see what they come up with. I wonder if will be much different to the old agreement.

    I am looking forward to the DUP (having sorted out the decommisioning thing and all the other major issues) saying Yes, now lets attack the real issues of education and the economy in a spirit of cooperation and generousity of spirit with SF.

    After you Gerry, no after you Ian. I tell you what lets go through the door to Stormont together.

  • ulsterman

    The office of Deputy First minister is going to be abolished. There will seven unionists and 4 nationalists on the executive.

    The problem still remains over IRA disbandment.For the assembly to meet the IRA must totally disband and be seen to have done so.

    There is no quick fix. Nationalists have to realise that in Ulster they are a minority. The DUP will not jump at the site of a ministerial car.It is none of Bertie Aherns business when and if the Assembly meet. The Irish governments and the Papacys’ influence over our Protestant Province has gone forever.

    God Save The Queen.

  • Butterknife

    Ulsterman bless the wee world that you dwell in.
    God save Parliamentary democracy (Just to be different)

  • queens_unionist

    Butterknife.
    If you have to use typographical errors to win your argument then i suggest you start studying politics a little more.
    …………………………………………..
    I think the DUPs official line is something along the lines of terrorism is totally abhorrant and all paramilitary groups shoud disband. loyalist and nationalist.
    These groups are a scourge on society and nothign but gangsters.
    The DUP will hold out for the agreement which best suits them. Lets not forget that they have the majority of the unionist vote and this vote is ever growing.
    As for BK’s comment about DUP relying on UDA vote in lisburn,
    If by UDA you mean the paramilitary group then no!The DUP is not one of these politcal parties in NI with a paramilitary wing.
    But however as any political party in essence relies on the public and registered voters for there mandate.

    “There is no quick fix… The DUP will not jump at the site of a ministerial car”

    Quite true ulsterman.

  • queens_unionist

    Oh and moderate unionist, just because you may not have seen my username pop up before does not mean 1/ i am new to slugger or indeed
    2/ new to the world of politics. 🙂

  • jonty

    Queens the DUP vote has shrunk since 2001 elections
    in 2001 181,000 people voted dup,
    in 2003 it was 177,000 and in
    2004 it was 124,000

    the dup is shrinking in numbers.

  • queens_unionist

    Jonty Do you really want me quote the number of youth members the UUP has or shall i not embarrass you (speaking from a QUB perspective that is?)

    its all very well ryhming of those figures put them in perspective…
    Westminster Elections 2001
    DUP – 22.5% UUP – 26.8%
    NI Assembly Elections 2003
    DUP – 25.6% UUP – 22.7%
    European Elections 2004
    DUP – 32.0% UUP – 16.6%

    confusing?

  • jonty

    queens , its numbers that count and the number of people voting DUP are shrinking whether y ou like it or not.

  • Butterknife

    queens_unionist

    By bastardising a complete sentence in favour of a quick moral, but hollow victory – quite DUP of you, you erred not me.

    You also implied that the UDA care nothing of Northern Ireland’s politics – well may I remind you that it was once lawful, and as such the pressure group’s primary functions was to promote Loyalism.

    Also it is well known to the people in Lisburn; to the police, and even to Parliament and The Guardian! that the DUP associate with the UDA. So may I remind you once more how you made the local commander of the UDA in Lisburn out to be a complete Republican?

  • queens_unionist

    if you are referring to my “fidel castro” comment,
    I’l admit it was a bit silly. Fidel Castro might have been slightly ‘off’ choice for an example of someone who was notintersted in NI politics but, all the same that is what the example was ‘trying’ communicate.
    I was merely trying to voice my opinion that i think paramilitaries are now not interested in political matters for which they were once formed. They are more occupied in drug running and territory fudes
    I am not necessarily suggesting that this is the case but it is however MY OPINION!
    anyway i reming you that the , and the . are beside each other and when time constraints are against you they can quite easily be pressed. If however you can find yourself blameless of never making a ‘typo’ then by all means ‘cast the first stone’.
    I did however when ‘proof reading’ the post after i posted it (?), albeit for no purpose, i did notice the error but as the is no EDIT button well i cannot undo what is done.
    anyway back to topic!
    ‘jonty’ it seems as though the DUP vote is growing wrt the UUP vote so… i’m happy 🙂

  • queens_unionist

    BK, you erred not I.

  • Butterknife

    Really maybe i am just a cynic but i always presumed Ulsterman was either (a) taking the preverbal or (b) a SF or like member trying to cause mischief. Either way it is nice that intelligent people like queens_unionist quotes him. No doubt he is well chuffed!

    I see from the Belfast Telegraph that the executive of the DUP will tell the grass roots of the party how to think and act. Very democratic!

    You’re right about one thing Ulsterman, Donaldson is probably collecting ‘private’ notes for the second edition of his book.

  • Butterknife

    I wrote that last comment on the wrong thread but no matter still holds true for a certain member here. And would you move off the grammar topic if you notice Slugger is not about rewriting the Constitution.

  • queens_unionist

    ‘Really maybe i am just a cynic but i always presumed Ulsterman was either (a) taking the preverbal or (b) a SF or like member trying to cause mischief. Either way it is nice that intelligent people like queens_unionist quotes him. No doubt he is well chuffed!’

    Does this make his quoted comment any less true?
    In my eyes i dont think so?
    WOuld i be right in thinking any SF supporter would even hint that he wanted God to save the Queen in jest or otherwise?

    Clearly if he was taking the proverbial i was fooled i thought he may have been a hard-line ‘super prod’
    hence why i did not quote him on his “Nationalists have to realise that in Ulster they are a minority.” as i am not sure of the statistics on political in the other 3 counties Cavan Donegal and Monaghan.

  • Rebecca Black

    since when are the membership numbers for the Young Unionists anything to be ashamed of?

    Let me educate you…the young unionists only set up March of this year, the Queen YU only set up about a month ago. I think there’re doing very well so far. And at least the Young Unionists have formed successful associations in Jordanstown and Coleraine instead of sticking to Queens – theres more than just one university in Northern Ireland.

  • queens_unionist

    was there not an UUP young association at queens before?
    is there a recognised UUP SU body at queens?

  • queens_unionist

    /\ no spite intended by the above comment. Its only a query! 🙂

  • jonty

    So it looks like wee jeffrey is up to his old tricks again but setting out his rejections to a deal before a crunch meeting, Before it was UUC council meetins, now its DUP executive meetings.

    I find it amazing jeffrey is telling us that republicans arent up to the standards of paragraph 13 of the joint declaration! Does he and his dupes support it now?

  • Keith M

    For several years I’ve found it difficult to understand why UUP members were content to be led into oblivion by Trimble, but one comment on this thread has helped explain it to me. Jonty’s amazing statement that ” its numbers that count and the number of people voting DUP are shrinking whether y ou like it or not” just shows how delusional UUP supporters have become.

    Let’s just have a few facts and compare like with like elections since the Belfast Agreement (RIP) was signed.

    Westminster elections:
    1997 107,348 compared to 2001 181,999 or a 70% increase.

    Local elections:
    1997 99,651 compared to 2001 169,477 again a massive 70% increase.

    Assembly elections:
    1998 146,989 becoming 177,470 in 2003 or a 21% increase.

    European elections:
    1999 192,762 became 175,761 in 2003. While this was a 9% decrease the overall vote was 18% down meaning the DUP’s vote share actually climed.

    So it is obviously complete nonsense to suggest that “the number of people voting DUP are shrinking”, but it clearly demonstates the calibre of analysis going on within the UUP.

  • jonty

    keith , so 175,000 is now more than 181,000 in 2001???

  • jonty

    keith , so 175,000 in 2004 is now more than 181,000 in 2001???

    Why cant you accept the fact that there are less people voting dup now than there were 4 years ago

  • willowfield

    Keith

    The Belfast Agreement is still in operation. Only the section relating to the Assembly has been suspended.

  • davidbrew

    “The Belfast Agreement is still in operation. Only the section relating to the Assembly has been suspended.”

    Indeed willow-exactly the opposite of what the turtle told the people at the referendum and since. Remember how he laughed when the DUP said the cross border bodies would continue if the assembly was suspended? Or thhat emotional moment earlier this year when he told Blair his party would take steps to bring the process to an end?

    As another, more entertaining fraud-Johnny Rotten -once said of the Sex Pistols-“ever had the feeling you’ve been swindled?”

  • willowfield

    Glad you realise that the GFA goes on regardless of the DUP winning the election. DUP claims that the Agreement is gone are dishonest and false, just as DUP claims that they will replace it are dishonest and false.

  • Will

    Jonty,
    The bare numbers of people who voted are only one statisitc of several which are needed to give a complete view. You cannot make any comparisons without the overall turnout figures, and also it isnt completely accurate to compare elections of different types.

    Surely that is why the UUP never compared any other election result to a European result – after all, they’ve been beaten by the DUP there for 25 years. The % share of the vote gained is always a much more reliable indicator of party strength to compare between elections as it removes the variations affected by turnout.

  • willowfield

    It’s quite clear that the DUP vote has dropped, but in relative terms it has increased compared to the UUP vote.

  • Warm Storage

    “And would you move off the grammar topic if you notice Slugger is not about rewriting the Constitution.”

    If I do notice that Slugger isn’t about rewriting the constitution, sure, I’ll move off the grammar topic.

    Sorry, that isn’t what you meant? Well, a decently constructed sentence might have made your meaning clearer to me.

    Without being overly pedantic about it, I’m sure some of us are less likely to be swayed by an argument that takes 10 minutes to decipher, so up the left is its the grammar and syntax. Politicians who can’t string together a coherent sentence have a similar effect on me.

    Punctuation errors on a discussion forum I can live with; however,illiteracy masquerading as typos… “Yeah, I hit the wrong keys when I typed “there”. I meant to type “their”.”

    Of course you did. I blame the schools…

    [Warm Storage is now fully aware that he/she can never make another grammatical mistake in a post]

  • Butterknife

    *nods head* I blame the UUP.

  • Will

    Willowfield,
    The DUP vote has increased its vote in terms of the overall vote and the inter-unionist vote.

    Assembly or Local Government elections are reasonable to compare over time, because in the inter-unionist battle, both parties are contesting seats in all areas but with no ‘personality’ factors involved. Using the last two of each of these elections we can see the real trend.

    In the 1997 Local Government election the DUP polled 16% of the overall vote, or around 36% of the ‘unionist’ votes (i.e. of votes cast for both the UUP & DUP).

    In the 1998 Assembly Election the DUP polled 18% of the overall votes cast or 46% of the unionist vote.

    In the 2001 Local Government Election the DUP polled 21% of the overall votes cast or 48% of the unionist vote.

    In the 2003 Assembly Election the DUP polled 25.6% of the overall vote, or 53% of the unionist vote.

    If you take either a direct comparison of the same type of election or an overall trend through time then you can see that the DUP vote has increased relative to the UUP vote, but it has also increased as a % of all the votes cast.

  • Warm Storage

    Butterknife

    And Trimble especially, naturally…

  • willowfield

    I already said the DUP had increased its relative share of the vote.

    But its absolute vote has dropped.

  • Butterknife

    Well actually Trimble has done a very good job and the history books will reflect this view. If the status quo had of remained in 1985-95 then there would have been joint authority without a shadow of a doubt, for the Protestant Taliban Party aka DUP as it was, was getting the lion’s share of the international news (as you know news is about putting forward a good storey notwithstanding the truth and the British was getting sick of our perceived drain on their pockets and the murders of their sons) and therefore no matter how good the UUP was the DUP would destroy the image of Unionism by cat-calling Ministers of State, Secretary of States, PMs: basically insulting everyone and anyone who mattered, and then expecting them to see us right in the end!
    Trimble saw that, and realised that if Protestantism was going to survive in a province whose island has a majority that was not of the same faith then he had to do something radical. In the end I think he did the right thing, and given the Machiavellian friends that he had, it is amazing that we do not live already under joint authority. In fact given the perceived incompetence of the UUP I fear the DUP even more.

  • Will

    The number of votes cast for the DUP over the last decade:

    1994 European = 163,246
    1996 Forum = 141,413
    1997 Westminster = 107,348
    1997 Local Gov = 99,651
    1998 Assembly = 146,989
    1999 European = 192,762
    2001 Local Gov = 169,477
    2001 Westminster = 181,999
    2003 Assembly = 177,470
    2004 European = 175,761

    Take from that what you will. The bare figures as I have said show nothing of real value. If you wanted to, you can say that in the 10 years since 1994-2004, the DUP vote has risen by about 12,000.

    However, if you want to make very pedantic points about absolute votes having dropped, then you can, but it takes nothing else into account and doesnt give anywhere near a true representation of the scenario.

    Can you at least agree that it is impossible to look at electoral statistics and conveniently ignore issues such as overall turnout and the % of the overall vote achieved by a party?

  • willowfield

    Obviously.

  • Warm Storage

    “Well actually Trimble has done a very good job and the history books will reflect this view.”

    I concur totally, Butterknife. I was just having a laugh at the recurring “Trimble to blame for everything”-type postings that crop up with interminable regularity.

    It was the juxtaposition of your “*nods head* I blame the UUP” post with my pedant’s rant that prompted my tongue-in-cheek ref to DT.

  • Peter Brown

    For i know for certain that the DUP are relying on UDA support.

    Funny BK I thought it wa the UUP that held the hand of the UDP and PUP and led them into Stormont?

  • Butterknife

    And i thought it was the electorate that put them there Peter.

  • Will

    Butterknife,
    The electorate didnt put the UDP anywhere, and it was only stretching the number of seats per constituency that allowed the PUP anywhere near the Assembly.

    I think we all know that Peter is referring to Trimble walking into the talks. No doubt being so tied to those people in the talks in order to try to claim that he had a majority of the unionist community did all kinds of good when it came to issues such as prisoner releases.

  • Warm Storage

    Maybe if the DUP had been in those talks, prisoner releases mightn’t have happened within such a short timeframe. Just a thought.

  • Rebecca Black

    funny, peter, I thought it was the DUP who led a raggedy bunch of loyalists into a field where they then brandished fire arms certificates.

    At least the UUP recognises these minorities are part of the problem and need to be part of the solution. The UUP are encouraging into democracy not firing them up with hate filled bile. Theres a big difference Peter.

  • Butterknife

    Well that argument throws up two important shortcomings of the DUP Warm Storage. Why where they not part of the talks? Was this not their failure to represent their own electorate, after all they were willing to take up their ministerial salaries?

    Also are we not just seeing a successful review of the Belfast Agreement – what happened to the ‘Fair deal’ / smash SF / blah blah blah.

    A prisoner sent to jail for 10 years can get out in 3 or less when good behaviour, remand and other factors are taken into consideration so this is a moot political point. What happened to the Christian act of forgiveness.

  • Peter Brown

    Didn’t Bill Craig and Vanguard get involved in that too – and where are the other members of Vanguard now? i know of more than one who is a prominent member of another political party…kettle calling the pot black BK

    “At least the UUP recognises these minorities are part of the problem and need to be part of the solution.”

    Hmm more SDLP than UUP that – definite Humespeak overtones. If only they had listened and not gone back to doing what they do best as soon as all their prisoners were released and left the UUP looking very foolish.

  • Will

    Butterknife,
    The Christian act of forgiveness is usually preceeded by the act of remorse.

  • Warm Storage

    “Well that argument throws up two important shortcomings of the DUP Warm Storage. Why where they not part of the talks? Was this not their failure to represent their own electorate, after all they were willing to take up their ministerial salaries?”

    That was what I meant, Butterknife; I was supporting your position. I was taking issue with Will’s comments. Apologies for any confusion.

  • Butterknife

    It is the way you phrase your sentences and use the rules of grammar *cough*

    Peter look in front of you instead of behind of you – that’s called the future before you trip up.