Reply to pete…

Aw hell pete, I just decided to go and write a whole load of other stuff about the DUP. Well, you were the only one to reply to the essay(!)Hmmm…

I think the DUP have watched SF and adopted similar tactics. Certainly the PUP did. But to little effect, as they have few political resources.

Very interesting all the same. But – like SF – there are competing factions in the DUP. And the non-secular wing is probably in the ascendancy, given the events of the last few months. Sadly.

Nevertheless, it’s Robinson and his crew that always gave moderates the most sh*t (much, much more than the Paisleyites in the DUP).

You can depend on the religious wing of the DUP to go a certain way, but the secular/Robinson wing is a slightly harder one to fathom. Either way, they always stick by their word. Like Sinn Fein. Unlike the UUP and occasionally the SDLP…

First few times I encountered Peter Robinson were not great, because he was, frankly, completely prejudiced, and it really showed. It kind of shocked me that it was mostly the Paisleyites who were, in person, the ones you ended up almost respecting… who were honest, frequently quiet, kind and generous, and who – and this is hard to type – actually gave a sh*t. Even the ‘Old Testament’ ones. No really. The DUP has an almost left-wing social conscience sometimes.

It might sound like a contradiction, but it’s no surprise to me that the DUP has enemies that might actually sympathise with it in some ways.

But given the often hostile attitude by some of its more secular representatives, it’s frequent refusal to defuse volalile situations, the ambivalence towards loyalist violence, and a couple of other things, I’m not that surprised at all.

Robinson is perceived as a bigot. He has a lot to learn, but I think he’s slowly getting there. As Adams is doing. Plus, he doesn’t realise that his more secular wing of the DUP is probably as strong as the ‘spiritual’ wing of the party, which – with notable exceptions – consists of backwards, moronic, bigoted, sectarian, half-witted, still-living-in-the-last-century idiots with no political nous whatsoever and who depend on the patronage of Paisley and a slim weight of numbers for survival.

One of the decent ‘noteable exceptions’ would include Mervyn Storey in Ballymoney. Another would be Cllr Nichol in Ballymena. Or Stalford in Belfast. Possibly the new Lord Mayor (to beproved). But not his north Antrim colleague, Cllr Maurice Mills. Or Stirling. Please, no more Robin Stirling. There’s no talking to the man. Or listening to him. It’s getting embarrassing. Really. Even Davy Tweed stood for the Tricolour.

If Robinson could persuade unionism of his credentials (assuming they are genuine), the DUP would have wiped out the UUP completely, I reckon, in the last general election. As it is, things are going fine for them, I would suppose. The religious, cautious, sackcloth and ashes brigade will be claiming victory, but they are not as politically astute and tactical as the Robinson wing, as shown by the council elections… look at how the greater Belfast DUP councillors voted in mayoral elections, and contrast that with the Sticks, where the rural, religious types are elected.

My fear is, that because of Leeds Castle and the aftermath, that the dumb, stupid, selectively Bible-bashing, yet somehow utterly hateful, Stirling wing is in the ascendency. I have a feeling that the Robinson wing got burned after the Leeds Castle talks by the IRA’s Northern Bank heist. But even if true, it is no necessary cause for opprobrium.

The DUP doesn’t expect the upcoming IRA statement to be good enough to reinstate the Assembly – and I think that feeling is shared by quite a few. Perhaps the SDLP’s improbable survival indicated that in some ways… there is an impatience with republicanism.

All of us on Slugger like to think that border politics are the ‘be all and end all’ of discussion.

But here’s news for y’all – it ain’t.

Don’t take my word for it. Talk to people here. Interest in politics is at an all time low. And the next big thing is the IRA statement.

Big f***ing deal.

They come out every month now. They have been utterly devalued by previous ambivalent utterances. They are met with – whether anyone thinks it fair or not – total cynicism and a sense of ‘seen it all before’.

The public is bored with ‘process’. End of story. Read the papers if you don’t believe me. Political coverage is lower than ever. Same with radio. And TV. And who can blame the media?

Yet the summer marching season might dictate whether the talks progress… there are so many factors. And you’ve seen ’em all before. So – like most people here who can – you’ll go on hols over the 12th fortnight sometime. Or stay well away. Or wash your hair. Or just try and ignore it… or, or who cares…

Back to the topic.

Given a recent conversation with a DUP member, who I consider both reliable and progressive, I haven’t much hope for quick devolution, to be honest.

Immediately after the 2003 Assembly election (and you can check it if you can be arsed searching Slugger), I fairly-confidently predicted no solution before the recent 2005 general election. It isn’t a source of pride to have been right.

My revised prediction is autumn 2007 – at the earliest.

Enough of this. Bed.