What happens next..?

THE DUP will be up for a post-election deal, Gerry Adams believes. And if they aren’t, Sinn Fein seems to be hinting that the ball will be in the two governments’ court – perhaps a suggestion that a future SF fallback position will be to push for joint authority in the event of a negotiating failure. However, Peter Robinson’s post-election plans are different – to bring about unionist unity, he says.Paisley seems to agree, which might confirm to some what they always suspected – for the DUP, this election is about destroying the UUP, and reducing nationalist representation isn’t the priority for them. No wonder there was no electoral pact. For the DUP, it’s probably worth letting the SDLP or Sinn Fein pick up a couple of Westminster seats now, as it may be easier to take them back with no UUP to split the unionist vote in 2009.

Adams said:

“The DUP accepted the fundamentals of the Good Friday Agreement and then tripped the whole process up around some of these unachievable demands,” he said.

“If the DUP refuse to deal on the basis of the Good Friday Agreement then of course that is a challenge for us.

“We are up for that challenge. We think that you sober up the DUP by facing them with their responsibilities because there can be no return to an administration except on the terms agreed under the Good Friday agreement.

“In other words if Ian Paisley wants to be the First Minister he can’t be the First Minister without sharing power with the rest of us. If he refuses all of that, and I would be very surprised if he did, then that is the challenge for the British Prime Minister and the Taoiseach.

Robinson said:

“After the election, the challenge facing the DUP as the dominant unionist party will be to further the cause of unionist unity,” he said.

“May 5 is not the end of the process of uniting unionism but merely another stage in this long-term goal. We must continue to build the widest possible coalition of support for the message the DUP has been setting out during this campaign.

“After years of division, unionist unity is finally coming about not between the UUP and DUP but within the Democratic Unionist Party. This is good for unionism and after years of unionist decline offers hope for the future.”

This is something that might please under-threat UUP MP (and potential post-election party leader?) David Burnside, who recently said:

“Unionists should be working together to defeat the criminal empire of Sinn Fein/IRA and indeed the loyalist organisations.

“After the General Election we should be working together.

There is no point in having two small groupings in the Westminster and we need a united front.

“I firmly believe that there will be united unionism post-Paisley and post-Trimble. There will be a realignment and I would prefer a merger.”

Realignment, anyone?