Vance on the DUP…

The inner constellations of Unionism appear to be changing. Has the DUP always been anti agreement (as opposed to anti Belfast Agreement)? I’m not so sure as David Vance (in his conversation with Gonzo) that they have been. Despite appearances, Ian Paisley’s political project has always been rigourously pragmatic, and in the past he’s shown himself capable of contemplating all manner of solutions outside the box.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    “Ian Paisley’s political project has always been rigourously pragmatic”

    Please explain. A trip to Dublin doesn’t make him ‘pragmatic’, IMHO.

  • fair_deal


    His behaviour in the Prior Assembly was pretty constructive and pragmatic and in the talks with Gerry Fitt preceding it. This is actually a much overlooked period of his career (overshadowed by the Hunger Strikes and Anglo-Irish Agreement).

    In hindsight he made the correct judgement for Unionism to work the Assembly. While the UUP frittered this opportunity away (spending more time boycotting the Assembly than in it) holding on to a Powellian pipedream that the Tories would implement their 1979 total integration manifesto pledge and they got their reward with the Anglo-Irish Agreement.

    It was the UUP’s Harold McCusker led the attack on the Leader of the Alliance party who he claimed was unfit to be chair of the Education Committee as he was a Roman Catholic (but there is no need to worry about that because sectarianism isn’t in the UUP’s DNA – David Trimble said so).

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Thanks for that fair deal. Some useful info.

  • Christopher Stalford

    Now, now, don’t let the facts get in the way. Only Ulster Unionists are capable of conducting negotiations on behalf of the Unionist community. Their glittering record speaks for itself.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Why don’t unionist parties try and represent the whole community?

  • Christopher Stalford

    “Why don’t unionist parties try and represent the whole community?”

    A good question. Surely the point is that you are a representative of the people who vote for you. You represent their views.

  • Will

    Does any party represent the whole community? Or should it? If you try to represent everyone then your views/beliefs have to be spread so thin as to be meaningless – fudged in order to achieve consensus.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    “Surely the point is that you are a representative of the people who vote for you”

    I know where you’re coming from, but Paisley made a reputation (whether you believe it or not is unimportant here) for himself by representing Catholics fairly on bread and butter issues.

    Why doesn’t he do the same when it comes to other issues?

  • Christopher Stalford

    Because it’s one thing to help a constituent with a problem regardless of whether or not they voted for you at the previous election.

    You can do that without compromising your beliefs, you cannot however, argue for or pursue an agenda that you don’t believe in.

  • Will

    Correct Christopher.
    Ian Paisley’s beliefs are to deliver the very best for his Constituents within the United Kingdom.

    You can work on bread and butter issues, but that cannot mean you compromise your belief in the Union.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    I suppose that’s true CS.

    Is it actually true, about Paisley representing nationalists on bread and butter issues?

    Does anyone know if Gerry Adams does the same on the other side? Just curious.

  • peteb

    It’s not the flying pigs I mind, it’s the smell of bacon when they hit the pylons.

  • Christopher Stalford

    If you look at previous European election results, there were always a few votes that went

    1 – Paisley
    2 – Sinn Fein

    That probably indicates some nationalists in place like Rathlin or the Glens who voted for the Doc because he had helped them with some constituency problem. Then of course there may have also been a handful of nationalists who voted for him an didn’t transfer.

  • Christopher Stalford

    “His behaviour in the Prior Assembly was pretty constructive and pragmatic and in the talks with Gerry Fitt preceding it.”

    Although I dislike Maloney and Pollak’s book on the Doc, I think I remember they also highlighted this fact.

  • ulsterman

    The DUP worked the last Assembly because not doind so would have handed their Cabinet seats to the enemies of Ulster.

    Paisley is a pragmatist. The deal that will emerge eventually will be fair to all. Nationalists will have to reign in their demands.

    God Save The Qyeen.

  • peteb

    “Nationalists will have to reign..”, ‘ulsterman’?

    Somehow I can’t seeing the ‘Republican royalty’ being too unhappy at that idea.

  • peteb

    sheesh… ‘see’ not ‘seeing’

  • D’Oracle

    “…contemplating all manner of solutions” maybe but seemingly only if they are either theoretical or very very far away.

    For example, now that the decommissioning thing has now become non-theoretical and potentially very now , we have a serious outbreak of angst-ridden hand wringing.

    If by any chance it does actually happen, standby for diffusion of the next reason why not.

    Why am I wrong?

  • alex s

    The difference between the Trimble and Paisley can be summed up thus,
    Trimble took risks with his party for the sake of peace, Paisley risked losing the peace for the sake of his party.