A good start is half the job?

Well it’s the move that was required. Not quite the best terms for the DUP. But for most independent observers. Richard Delevan is cautiously optimistic. But he correctly notes that this is just the first line on the last page of the last chapter of the book. We’re not quite at the end of history.

16 thoughts on “A good start is half the job?”

  1. Mick

    When you consider what Trimble got 22 months ago, and what the DUP got today, the DUP must be feeling rather pleased with themselves today. (Although, of course, it would be poor negotiation tactics to admit it.)

  2. The DUP ‘got’ nothing. It’s as clear as day that the decommissioning process took place outside of the DUP’s control/input.

    It’d be like congratulating the Irish government for umbrella sales in Ireland!

  3. The DUP raised the bar, so the IRA had to jump higher. Sounds like they almost cleared the bar! Apart from all the bits and pieces lying around the countryside, that is.

  4. ‘they almost cleared the bar!’

    Exactly! They didn’t bother accommodating the DUP.

    The IRA have been wanting to disarm for ages (for their own purposes), and it cold be argued that the DUP halted/slowed that process, but do you really want to take credit for that!

  5. “The IRA have been wanting to disarm for ages”

    That’s why they took seven years to do it and five years slower than the Belfast Agreement targets. Hmmmm.

  6. slug,fair_deal,

    You both know why the IRA didn’t disarm. They couldn’t let it be seen as a humiliation. It was a tough enough sell to the diehards without pandering to the DUP into the bargain.

  7. The fact that the IRA still felt it unnecessary to allow a picture demonstrates the fact that the event was not designed to assuage the lack of unionist confidence. The intent was to deliver enough to satisfy HMG and the Republic. That they have undoubtedly done. The DUP can take no credit for this they have been humiliated again. If any unionist deserves credit (a questionable proposition anyway) it would be David Trimble for starting us all down the path that led here. Just because the DUP are now carrying the ball doesn’t mean they get credit for the game.

    The test for them is how to deal with this and the issue of credit arises in how they cope from here on. They have failed to get the picture they wanted and that would have provided them with political cover and are now trapped between a skeptical unionist population and 2 satisfied sovereign governments. The DUP will no doubt delay a response to test the IRA (helpful to HMG as it allows a nice big political breathing space to dole out SF/IRA concessions as well, good move Peter!) but at some stage the pressure will build. The dilemma for them is that unionist opinion wont have moved that much and to shift they would have to take a risk that would be alien to their core vote but if they blow this they could see some of the new vote shift back towards the UUP (although the UUP’s organizational incompetence helps them no end). A nasty spot to be in it would seem. Of course they could just refuse to do anything but ultimately the world will turn with or without the DUP as nothing will stop the process. It’s the dilemma of unionism really and one that I think very few people ever understood. Unionism is not a core player, it’s a fringe player. The peace process can work with or without them. The IRA knew that and so do the governments. It is good if they can keep the unionists on board and they will pay a price for that but you are a fool if you think that unionists ultimately have a real veto over this process. So peddle your influence for all you are worth but don’t get that confused with having power or you are in for a nasty shock.

  8. Now let’s see the loyalist paramilitaries step up and show some courage – I’d love to hear their communities and political representatives demand the decommissioning of their weapons.

  9. Duncan, I would suggest that if the DUP want to take credit for “defeating” the IRA you let them do exactly that. Whatever the truth of the DUPs role in the IRA disarming it hopefully has some positive meaning for Unionists – or else what was the bloody point of doing it?

    Indeed lets give a big slap on the back to Ian’s big and small for the tremendous work they put in defusing NI’s inter communal tensions and outwittng the Provisional IRA.

    I suppose the only question is, what for their next trick, eh? Eh?

  10. A question for Unionists: How can you take a photograph of something that has already happened? Also, are you accusing Rev.Harold Good of being a liar?

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