The dangers of misjudging the DUP?

There’s a battle going on in Unionism. It’s the battle for that most powerful of electoral commodities: the middle class voter. Traditionally a shoe in for the UUP, the party came close to offering the DUP it’s own clothes, when Michael McGimpsey launched a fiery attack on the DUP for going to Dublin and talking to big business (subs needed). Ian Paisley, the man who (according to modern political mythology) can only say NO!, seemed to revel in his apparently new found status of Ulster’s liberal man of reason!

When probed about the event, he would only say:

“I made a very good speech, and was congratulated by everybody in the place,” says Dr Paisley. “I don’t know when I was received so well, or when I spoke so well.” Two large tapestries in the diningroom of the old House of Lords on College Green of the Battle of the Boyne and the Siege of Derry, complete with illustration of the Roaring Meg cannon, made him feel comfortably at home. “I had the Boyne water behind me, and Roaring Meg in front of me. We got the Boyne water, which was holy water, and Roaring Meg, which was holy smoke,” says Dr Paisley. He would happily go down for another such get together.

And there’s more of this kind of thing to come:

“This wasn’t a one-off thing. I think it will be profitable to us that these folk realise that we are interested in the economy and we want to do something for it.”

For Republicans it makes electoral sense to push the idea publicly that the DUP is temperamentally incapable of doing an inclusive deal, whilst privately working towards one. But it looks increasingly likely that the UUP have made the mistake of taking it as an unshakeable article of faith.

As a result, the DUP are happy to take the advantage with some considerable private (and public) relish!

  • peter

    I think it would be wrong to misjudge the DUP. The DUP is a party now full of articulate young men. Nigel Dodds and Jim Allister are barristers for example. The DUP are not a stupid party.

    The DUP realise that if Stormont is ever to return we must work with our enemies. Once the IRA disband I have no doubts that SF win be back as Her Majestys loyal Ministers in Stormont.

  • Rebecca Black

    Peter

    I don’t think even the DUPs sternest critics would call them stupid.

    My problem, and I am sure many other peoples problem with the DUP, is the very unattractive undercurrent of sectarianism and intolerance that runs through the party, in addition to the fact that despite promising to smash Sinn Fein they are doing their utmost to smash the UUP.

    A party that despite doing things like making fun of a dying Pope can be a largest party in Northern Ireland clearly has some intelligent albeit manipulative people working in its press department.

  • pakman

    Rebecca Black

    “the very unattractive undercurrent of sectarianism and intolerance that runs through the party [the DUP]”

    corroborate that statement or withdraw it.

    “making fun of a dying Pope”

    corroborate that statement or withdraw it.

  • peter

    I thought Paisley was very diplomatic in expressing his sympathies over the Popes death. He certainly did not make fun of him. Please withdraw the above remark.

  • Davros

    I thought Paisley was very diplomatic in expressing his sympathies over the Popes death. He certainly did not make fun of him. Please withdraw the above remark.

    peter – Rebecca didn’t claim that Paisley made fun of him.

    That said, I was pleasantly surprised at the sensitivity of Paisley’s remarks and behaviour on the death of John Paul. Pound to a penny there were certain others, and not just on these boards, who were bitterly disappointed. I’ll bet a few rags had searing condemnations that had to be spiked 😉

  • carlosblancos

    Who from the DUP made fun of the Pope dying? I thought it was some Presbyterian Minister at some random event.

    Pakman, I assume you are a lawyer?

  • maca

    Spot on Rebecca.

    I find it hard to believe people would vote for a party lead by someone like Paisley.

    It’s a very sad state of affairs that the two largest parties in NI are extremists. I’d spoil my vote before i’d vote for either of them, heck, i’d even vote Alliance…(joke IJP)

    Peter
    “He certainly did not make fun of him”

    He certainly did with the previous Pope. And he insulted JP2 enough times during his life anyway.

  • carlosblancos

    Didn’t Paisley denounce JPII as the Antichirst at the European Parliament or something?

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    Carlos, not just that, he wrote a book explaining it!

    And the guy making fun of the pope was in the DUP – except he wasn’t making fun of him dying; it was apparently a couple of months before that happened.

  • maca

    When Pope John XXIII died Paisley said “This romish man of sin is now in hell.”

    Carlos
    “Didn’t Paisley denounce JPII as the Antichirst at the European Parliament or something?”

    From one site:
    “As the Pope began his message, Paisley stood and held up a red sign painted in black letters with the words “John Paul II ANTICHRIST.” Paisley shouted, “I refuse you as Christ’s enemy and Antichrist with all your false doctrine.””

  • maca

    “And the guy making fun of the pope was in the DUP – except he wasn’t making fun of him dying; it was apparently a couple of months before that happened.”

    Wasn’t that Dickinson who was doing the parkinsons impression? Bit of a comedian is the bauld Rev.

  • Vespasian

    The problem was not that the DUP met business leaders in Dublin, it was their amazing hypocrisy that they spent years critising everyone else for doing it. What did they say about cross border bodies when they were established including those for business…. sheer hypocrisy from a party full of hypocrites.

  • Keith M

    Vespasian : “The problem was not that the DUP met business leaders in Dublin, it was their amazing hypocrisy that they spent years critising everyone else for doing it.”.

    Firstly the Republic no longer lays claim to N.I. but has now enshrined the Principal of Consent into its constitution.

    Secondly when did an Irish government come as on the side of unionists in a head to head with Republicans as the Irish government has done over the past 6 months.

    Times have changed, the Irish government has changed, the DUP has changed, maybe you should consider changing.

  • maca

    “the DUP has changed”

    Have they Keith? Apart from a Dublin meeting I see little sign of it.

  • Stalford

    beano

    The last time I checked, the Rev. Stephen Dickinson wasn’t in the DUP. Get your facts straight sunshine!

  • Tiny

    beano

    The last time I checked, the Rev. Stephen Dickinson wasn’t in the DUP. Get your facts straight sunshine!

    Posted by: Stalford at April 26, 2005 02:16 PM

    Mr Stalford the concert in question was organised by the Downshire branch of the DUP, this was eventually alknowledged by a branch member on Radio Ulster, in fact she went on to discribe how the impersonation concerned the way the late Pope was forced to sit when waving at the crowds from his window. That certain ‘bloggers’ seem confused about who ran the concert could have something to do with the DUPES in Lagan Valley keeping quiet (with this one exception) while the church took the blame, but of course you kmew that anyway did’nt you.

  • vespasian

    Keith M

    The ROI has not laid claim to NI for the past 7 years, during which period the DUP has rejected cross border co-operation.

    The ROI government has not been pro Unionist it has been anti SF, there is a major difference.

    It seems that the DUP now supports everthing they were vehemently against; cross border bodies, GFA SF in Government but for a photo – to me that is being hypocritical in the extreme.

    But then some voters don’t really care who they vote for anyway………….