DUP have left Unionism vulnerable?

Interesting blog from Michael at the Young Unionists. He welcomes what he calls the surrender of the IRA, but is still suspicious that Sinn Fein have a hidden agenda. He bemoans the DUP’s refusal to be engaged in any position that might put a brake on Sinn Fein’s capacity to wring further concessions out of the governments.

  • Harris

    Regarding the IRA, “they have implicitly accepted that the arms were illegal, and therefore the dirty campaign they were used for was also illegitimate. Therefore we can now say that Unionists and the British people won the war.”

    It was just a matter of time before unionists started blathering on about how they and their Beloved British govt. were able to get the IRA to disarm and that their physical force struggle was all for naught. Unionists are compelled to tell themselves and others that will listen, that the IRA’s arms were illegal and that their war was illegitimate, all while transpiring in a dream like state.

  • DK

    Michael makes some unnecessary, some correct and some incorrect observations.

    First of all, the need to talk in terms of victory within the “us and them” paradigm is unncessary and unhelpful. The PRM did indeed fail to achieve their objectives through the terror campaign. However, they have made significant gains and have constructed a platform for taking forward their ideology without murder. Does that translate to totally peaceful and democratic methods? Time will tell. What ever your views on the success or failure of republicanism, I would suggest that adopting less beligerant language will encourage a more positive outcome in the future. That in no way means that we give in to republican demands. Just learn how to play the PR game as a tool in negotiations. By the way, negotiations are always taking place.

    He is correct in his analysis of the negative impact of DUP strategy and the fact that the PRM knew what they were doing when they sacrificed Trimble.

    He is also correct in pointing out that the DUP has no influence with the British government.

    I think he is incorrect in assuming that the UUP ever had any significant influence.

  • Harris

    DK

    “The PRM did indeed fail to achieve their objectives through the terror campaign.”

    I think most of us know that the IRA practically abandoned their physical force campaign pre 1996, excluding of course, the Canary Warf bombing. Also, I think there are many who believe that the IRA’s campaign did serve its purpose by achieving what we have today. Objectives can change, DK, just as long as you eventually get there.

    “and have constructed a platform for taking forward their ideology without murder. Does that translate to totally peaceful and democratic methods? Time will tell.”

    Um, what other means would you potentially forsee?

  • Aaron D

    While I could understand why some one would assume that the complete cessation of physical force constitutes a surrender, the word “surrender” is completely misapplied.

    To surrender is to completely abandon a goal, and clearly, the Republican Movement has not done that. The goals remain, the method has changed. Whoever said that the pen is mightier than the sword was implying that these are two tactics to reach the same end, and the expression of thought is clearly the more potent tool. I don’t think that switching to a more set of tactics in the overall strategy really constitutes the abandonment of a goal, if anything, it’s the opposite.

    Of course, this is to be expected. During a time when everyone gains, there always has to be a political partisan out there somewhere trying to make it an exclusively victory for their group.

  • DK

    Harris

    “Also, I think there are many who believe that the IRA’s campaign did serve its purpose by achieving what we have today. Objectives can change, DK, just as long as you eventually get there.”

    I was led to believe that the purpose of the terror campaign was to end British rule in NI. You suggest the purpose was to achieve what we have today. We have British rule in NI.

    Objectives are what inform you about where you are trying to get to. Change the objectives and you risk changing the detination.

    If the objective of the terror campaign was not to end British rule, in contradiction to PRM’s repeated claims, can you pehaps enlighten us on what the objective was?

    The so called “equality agenda” or was that the objective of the Civil Rights Movement?

  • red kangaroo

    Can everyone agree the IRA were defeated, the British won, the union is safe from papists and communists etc, etc.

    Now what’s the unionists excuse for their violence and obstruction?

  • fair_deal

    Starts well then tries to find a way to blame the DUP when it isn’t a Unionist party political problem but a Unionist political problem.

  • Traditional Unionist

    Why is it not a party political problem? According to the DUP it was 3 years ago.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    RK: “Can everyone agree the IRA were defeated, the British won, the union is safe from papists and communists etc, etc.”

    Doubt it. As I have said elsewhere, just b/c the gun is being taken out of the Catholic end of N.I. politics, don’t make this into a surrender. Finding a different path doesn’t end the journey.

    “Now what’s the unionists excuse for their violence and obstruction?”

    Does it matter, since there will always be one? 😉

    Seriously, tho, I think this month it is “Why is the gov’t being nicer to the Taigs than they are to us?” punctuated with gunfire, bombs and the odd riot.

  • Traditional Unionist

    The military campaign was a failure, a cicrumstance puncuated by the surrender of the ira last week, as simple as that.

  • George

    All this talk of surrender makes me think some unionists are actually beginning believe the IRA could be gone. The few hundred have finally given up.

    Now it’s just the millions of constitutional Irish republicans on this island left to surrender and the union is safe forever.

    All they have to decommission is their passports. At least they already have the photographic evidence embedded.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    T.U.: “The military campaign was a failure, a cicrumstance puncuated by the surrender of the ira last week, as simple as that.”

    If its as “simple” as that, why is Big Ian being such a sour-mouth? Has he mastered the fine art of making lemons out of lemonade? Or, more likely, has he realized that he and his “dead-enders” have been outflanked? RIR leaving, Unionists rioting in the streets, watch-towers dismantled, Big Ian complaining… not the traditional signs of a Unionist victory.

  • Traditional Unionist

    Paisley sour-mouthed? Leopards and spots.

  • fair_deal

    TU

    This is not the first instance of the largest Unionist party being sidelined by London. The core analysis offered by Shilliday could have been offered at numerous stages in the process. Thus it is a Unionist problem

  • Moayed

    I understand your point fair_deal, but I reckon Shillidays point is more to do with why SF/IRA sacrificied Trimble – because they knew that he mad more infulence than any other unionist leader has since Bonar-Law and Carson. They know the government doesn’t give a crap about Paisley or what he thinks.

  • fair_deal

    moayed

    “They know the government doesn’t give a crap about Paisley or what he thinks.”

    Not entirely true. The political process tends to a bit peaks and troughs in terms of whom the governments are interested in. When Paisley and the DUP showed a willingess to deal the government and Irish government offered a number of significant changes to the Agreement as part of the December deal the Provos ran away from and a package of confidence building measures.

    The primary issue with the process tends to be balance within it i.e. when governments want to keep you sweet how willing they are to listen how willing they are to act. Throughout they have always been more willing to listen more and be more generous to the RM.

  • Ringo

    F_D

    Throughout they have always been more willing to listen more and be more generous to the RM.

    isn’t that simply because the governments themselves had more to gain from the republicans than anyone else – nationalists included?

    The governments in my opinion have both been very evenhanded in their dealings with both sides – here’s the caveat – as long as it isn’t an issue that directly affects their own backyard. There is a massive incentive for Tony Blair to remove the threat posed by the IRA, and if that means upsetting a few hundred thousand unionists along the way, well, the cold fact is that no one is really going to care outside unionism. To a much lesser extent the same can be seen by McDowell’s continuing interest in republican criminality – republicans repeatedly cry foul when he doesn’t bash the loyalists with as much enthusiasm, but loyalists don’t pose much of a problem in his backyard either.

    Now that Tony has successfully achieved the settlement that people in Britain [island of, before you get stroppy ;)], as opposed to NI needed, it will be interesting to see how the British governments approach changes. The tightening of the financial strings might suggest the next major direction they will take now that they may no longer have a need to treat one side differently from another – time to put the squeeze on the electorate and force the local politicians to deal with a common fall out?