DUP: unionism’s outstanding business

No one can accuse the DUP of not doing their paperwork. Today the party will hand over a 16 page document outlining its ideas for a way forward, along with a second paper on “fairness and equality issues”. Key concerns remain:

* the time being taken to deliver the Royal Irish Regiment redundancy offer

* a lack of action to tackle deprivation in unionist areas

* no proposals for root and branch reform of parades legislation

* policing and criminal justice matters, including the continuing 50:50 law, and

* government plans to end the grammar school system.

Policing and justice is a sticking point for Sinn Fein too, and is likely to snag further progress. But that snagging may give the party sometime to work on the first three. Education has been a hot topic since Martin McGuinness’ decision to abolish the 11+, but with Nationalism and Unionism still dividing down the middle over it, and no local legislative forum,local parties will likely be reduced to the status of lobbyists.

  • seabhac siulach

    From the Newsletter:

    “The DUP has warned that it will not take part in forthcoming political talks unless the Government begins to address key unionist concerns.”

    So the DUP is now making demands BEFORE talks can even begin, irrespective of the IMC report? This is getting ridiculous…precondition after precondition after precondition, while standing back and letting direct (mis)rule ministers decide on the very issues, like schools, policing, that they complain about…it is madness.
    It is absolutely ludicrous to be complaining about education, policing and deprivation while wilfully refusing to take part in a local power sharing assembly where these matters could be addressed. There are no valid reasons left to not go into a power sharing executive with Sinn Fein, apart from petty party political ones.
    Instead of putting that list of grievances as preconditions they should get back to work in an executive and try to find solutions to them, e.g, schools, policing. Do they want all their work done for them before they will take up ministerial responsibility, is that it? Or is it that they want to preempt any return to executive power-sharing at Stormont by getting the Brit. govt. to implement their particular favoured policies in advance before those pesky fenians can stop them, e.g., regarding the 11+, etc. Nah, that wouldn’t be it at all, of course. There is no principle at stake here, apart from an obvious attempt to further the aims of the DUP party…this has now nothing to do with the IRA, etc. It is pure politicking by the DUP.
    It is way past time for the govts. to tell the DUP where to go and to get real…this situation cannot be allowed to continue.

  • martin ingram

    The DUP have the cards stop whinging and understand and comprehend the reality. Republicans need to understand and quickly that no matter what tripe they have been fed for the last five years or more the DUP are in the driving seat and the car is not even in gear.

    The Republicans have played their cards what have they got left?

    Martin.

  • Realist

    “There are no valid reasons left to not go into a power sharing executive with Sinn Fein”

    Apart from the fact that they are up to their necks in crime and gangsterism. Its only a year since the biggest bank robbery in history and the murder of Robert McCartney – and werent they on ceasefire then too? The IRA and SF must prove themselves fit for government before any unionists would support even the concept of a return to an executive. The majority of Unionist support is still with the DUP stance.

  • seabhac siulach

    Realist:

    “Apart from the fact that they are up to their necks in crime and gangsterism. Its only a year since the biggest bank robbery in history and the murder of Robert McCartney…”

    Yes, they would be good reasons IF the DUP didn’t at the same time routinely meet with representatives of the loyalist paramilitary groups that are up to their necks in drug dealing, murder (‘feuds’), you name it. So, it would appear that the DUP position is based not so much on high moral ‘principle’ as on naked political calculation. It is this hypocrisy that the two govts. should be dealing with, not some alleged IRA ‘crime’ that now amounts to little more than fuel laundering (if even that). The activities you mention, furthermore, took place before the historic decision of the IRA to devote itself fully to purely peaceful activities and before it fully decommissioned ALL of its weapons. It would seem that Unionist voters have been poorly served by their elected representatives who consistently play down the significance of those historical events and who fail to explain their importance. Those initiatives, e.g., decommissioning, by the IRA may have been grudgingly done but Unionists should at least now ackowledge that they were done and give some small credit to the IRA for them. Where else in the world has such a thing taken place? The point is that there should now be a new atmosphere for negotiations as a result of decommissioning. Why isn’t there? That is the fault of the DUP for not honestly accepting/welcoming the changed landscape post-decommissioning. They do this for their own political reasons and the govts. should not let them get away with it any longer.

  • George

    Martin,
    true the Republicans have played their cards but in a game that doesn’t matter and never did.

    The fact that the DUP, SDLP, SF and UUP still seem to think that devolution matters to anyone outside of Northern Ireland just shows how out of touch they are with reality.

    The answer lies within. That is what devolution is all about.

    Nobody of consequence (those in positions of power on these islands) give a hoot about devolution for Northern Ireland as long as there is peace. If NI wants it, it has to deliver it.

    The most important part of the Good Friday Agreement was the constitutional settlement between Ireland and Great Britain.

    No unity without consent and withdrawal of any democratic “mandate” the Provos thought they had thanks to a referendum north and south, the first since the second Dail.

    The end of the Provo campaign was greeted with as much relief in Dublin as in London.

    The rest was and is window dressing for our northern brethren, a sort of path to political reality if you will. The choice is yours and will remain yours.

    For outsiders, Northern Ireland continues to wallow in a misplaced sense of self importance.

    To show how ridiculous it all has become, can you imagine 10 years ago the DUP saying one of their preconditions for going into a partitionist Stormont Assembly with Sinn Fein would be what size of redundancy package for the RIR? That’s before we even talk about SF going into Stormont.

    The DUP have outlined further concerns that they can’t ever deliver on (unless the British government deigns to indulge them) before they enter a non-existant glorified county council that is totally superfluous to the region’s needs.

    Not only is the car not in gear, there is no car.

  • slug

    I think some of these seem sensible.

    For instance, I think the 50/50 recruitment policy for the police is coming to the end of its shelf life. It is very good that the recent police recuits are so much more representative these days and the youngest cohort, the last 5 years of recruits, are 50% Catholic. But we do have to think about the fairness to the individual applicant and this is where 50/50 is weakest. Like other organizations, the police should aim for less mechanistic ways of ensuring social diversity.

    Northern Ireland’s diversity isn’t just a binary divide anymore. The police should have all kinds of diversity targets – gays, ethnic minorities, women, and so on.

    Turning to the other points on the list. Widening out the range of issues in a negotiation process is always something that makes agreement to a negotiated settlement easier — thats textbook MBA bargaining theory — and its clear that a range of these issues are of concern to the public. None more so than the government’s proposals regarding the replacement to the 11+. So I think it makes loads of sense to see the DUP taking this issue up. These objectives have quite a realistic feel to them.

    It’s also good to see the DUP putting forward such a lengthy document on devolution. Although I’ve not seen the details, lets hope that this shows that the DUP have been keeping themselves busy with their preparation in this area and are looking to engage with the government with a range of intersting ideas arrangements that are of interest to them.

    It seems to me that Northern Ireland is moving forward, in just a whole range of dimensions. Eeconomically in employment levels and economic growth, in terms of the level of investment, and socially, in terms of things like integrated education and a more ethnically and religiously diverse mix of people.

    Perhaps the most telling indicator of the new Northern Ireland is the numbers of people now moving to NI from GB are a lot bigger than we saw in the pre-2000 period, and of course we know from the internal UK migration data that since 2000, thousands more are returning to NI every year than are leaving these days. These are changed times.

    With all the other parties heading to these talks with their own aims and objectives, it will be an interesting period that lies ahead. But it does look like the DUP are playing a game of engagement. To use the motoring metaphor, they have made sure their car is full of fuel and the drivers and navigators are fully prepared to engage in the task that lies ahead.

  • martin ingram

    Hi George,

    I understand the points you are making. I dont accept the argument though.

    Quote”true the Republicans have played their cards but in a game that doesn’t matter and never did”Unquote

    Of course it matters George, it matters to a large segment of a NI society which is also a member of the EU.It matters to a small minority of activists in the South of Ireland which is also is a member state of the EU.

    It matters to the US govt, it matters to the British Govt, it matters to the Irish Govt.

    It matters to you also or you would not be posting on this board , it matters to everybody on this board whether they are Republican, Nationalist, Protestant or like me Greek Orthodox.

    When you play your cards George it is important that the opponents you are facing does not know what cards you hold! That is and remains Republicans greatest weakness.

    Martin

  • Comrade Stalin

    Realist writes :

    The majority of Unionist support is still with the DUP stance.

    The DUP stance on paramilitarism is that, depending on the organization which carries it out, it is quite acceptable. That is why William McCrea was on a podium with Billy Wright; that is why convicted former UVF prisoners join the DUP and get to stand as election candidates; that is why areas controlled by loyalist paramilitaries overwhelmingly vote DUP.

    Do the majority of unionists support the DUP’s ambiguous stance on paramilitarism ? Standing where I am, it looks rather like they do.

  • martin ingram

    Comrade,

    Quote”Do the majority of unionists support the DUP’s ambiguous stance on paramilitarism ? Standing where I am, it looks rather like they do.”Unquote

    The DUP are clean and you know it. The problem remains that the IRA is still at the table,we all have to be honest and accept the reality. The IRA criminality has to stop after all Slab is still making a fortune on the back of the movement and the leadership are either scared or complicit. I suppose we could go to the CRJ or ask the Gasket to mediate.

    For the record. Loyalists Para militaries are no different to Republican and should be treated equally.

    Martin.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The DUP are clean and you know it.

    I know quite the opposite. Explain how the DUP can be clean while their senior members are cavorting on in front of an angry crowd with Billy Wright. Explain how you can be completely committed to completely democratic means when you have spent your entire career having to distance yourself from groups that you founded but mysteriously became inexplicably violent.

    For the record. Loyalists Para militaries are no different to Republican and should be treated equally.

    Agreed, but very few people in NI agree with this. Most people think, even distantly, that one or other set of organizations are an understandable reaction to the excesses of their counterpart. That is the essential crux of this matter. You’ll seldom if ever hear the DUP slamming loyalists in the same way that they slam republicans. Look at the unionist response to the events following the Whiterock parade rerouting in September as a case in point; or go all the way back to UWC and beyond. Unionism has paramilitarism running right through it’s veins just as nationalism has.

  • HolyGhost

    “The DUP are clean and you know it”

    Martin,
    Ive never responded to any of your posts because I thought you were a feckwit….but this post would suggest you are more of a fool to be pitied than a feckwit to be laughed at.

  • Brian Boru

    The 50:50 gripe is really a fear of a representative police force imho.

  • Brian Boru

    “The DUP are clean and you know it. ”

    Oh? Then why won’t they decommission Ulster Resistance?

  • martin ingram

    Re: DUP.

    The DUP like the SDLP have at times cavorted with Criminals. The difference is the DUP is not funded nor backed nor manned by leading Para militaries.

    Holy Ghost, if you have any evidence that the DUP are funded or manned by paramilitaries rthen please share with us all.

    The problem remains and we all know it, that the IRA and Sinn Fein is a corrupt and criminal based organisation. Slab is still active for both himself and the party you know and I know it and more importantly the Govts know it.

    The DUP are lilly white stood next to the Sinn Fein/ IRA/ British Govt.

    Martin.

    PS. Holy Ghost. I hope you will post once more you are clearly a person in need of education.

  • slug

    “The 50:50 gripe is really a fear of a representative police force imho.”

    This may be true but it is hard to think of a more legitimate gripe than statutory employment discrimination by religious upbringing. Thats why I think its shelf life is nearing its end.

  • Brian Boru

    Well slug, special cases require special solutions.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The DUP like the SDLP have at times cavorted with Criminals. The difference is the DUP is not funded nor backed nor manned by leading Para militaries.

    I didn’t claim they were, Martin. Try to keep up.

    The question here is about the DUP’s commitment to peaceful and democratic means given the company they keep. If you’re a peace-loving, non violent person then what would you be doing at rallies with known loyalist paramilitaries ? If you love democracy and hate thuggery, why would you describe putting people out of their houses as “understandable” like Martyn Smith did ten years ago ? Why do people like Margaret Patterson react with hesitance and shock whenever a journalist asks them whether their condemnation of republicans also applies to loyalists ? Why is Peter Robinson’s constituency festooned with UDA and UVF flags that he feels no need to do anything about ?

    The idea that because a person does not possess a gun means he is a man of peace is complete nonsense. If that man has the sympathetic ear of another man who does have a gun and the willingness to use it, what is the difference ? Unionists are always telling everyone what a bad idea a united Ireland would be, because the loyalists would stage an armed opposition to it. In most people’s language that’s a threat ?

  • martin ingram

    Martin.

    . Quote”In most people’s language that’s a threat ?Unquote

    Your actually smarter than you first appear.

    Gerry Adams , once said, “you know they have not gone away you know”.

    Some took that to be a threat also. I just smiled personally but others did take that to be an implied threat.

    Martin.

    PS. A couple of bombs in Dublin during the lead in to any UI discussions would do what the Canary wharf did in London, Why? because the South does not want the North at that price or indeed any price.It would be a very quick exit for South .

  • Comrade

    “Explain how you can be completely committed to completely democratic means when you have spent your entire career having to distance yourself from groups that you founded but mysteriously became inexplicably violent.”

    Don’t get the logic. Should you stick with an organise that you founded but which became violent? Or is it that if you found an organisation and it turns violent, it must be your fault.

    “The idea that because a person does not possess a gun means he is a man of peace is complete nonsense.”

    true

    “If that man has the sympathetic ear of another man who does have a gun and the willingness to use it, what is the difference ?” It totally depends on whether the first man intentionally encourages the second to use his gun. The fact that he has influence with a gunman is not necessarily his fault.

    “Unionists are always telling everyone what a bad idea a united Ireland would be, because the loyalists would stage an armed opposition to it. In most people’s language that’s a threat ?”

    Unionist are not always doing anything apart from wishing to maintain the Union. We are not all cloned from one origonal. We should try and get away from “Unionists are always…”, “Nationalists are always…..” phrases.

    BTW I’m not excusing anyone cosying up to terrorists and I would love to see the back of all terrorist flags etc.

  • HolyGhost

    Martin,
    my appreciation goes to comrade stalin he articulated things much more eloquently than I could.
    You also seem to roam , much too often into whataboutery with condescending prose.
    I think my education is quite adequate it has enabled me to identify you as the village feckwit who thinks he knows it all.
    This world would be a much more pleasant place if irritants like yourself were drowned at birth. You have nothing positive or constructive to offer and exist only to massage your own over inflated ego.