The DUP, Disadvantage Funding And The Union: A Poser

There have been many questions posed of nationalists in the aftermath of Saturday’s riot in Dublin, quite rightly focusing on the message such a violent protest to a unionist rally in the nation’s capital sends out to Unionists of all hues, and how counter-productive that demonstration was to the objectives of Irish republicans.
This story in today’s Newsletter perhaps will provide food for thought for many unionists. Demanding government investment in disadvantaged areas, not on the basis of poverty, but on the concentration of protestants has been a DUP theme for the past year. Leading to the poser: What message does that send to nationalists, who presumably will need persuaded to the Unionist cause for the unionist objective of a permanent Union with Britain to be secured?

  • Chris,
    What’s challenging is for HMG to get the parties together and work out the best way forward in dealing with issues like the one you’ve highlighted in your thread. Both sides it seems are busy trying to extract concessions and have HMG endorse its polices; but parties need to be reminded that that’s what Stormont is for, the Assembly, and the various Agreements.

  • slug

    I think Chris Donnelly is right. Ethnic-based party politics is something unionists should move away from.

  • Ethnic-based party politics is something both groups should move away from

  • fair_deal

    “Demanding government investment in disadvantaged areas, not on the basis of poverty, but on the concentration of protestants has been a DUP theme for the past year.”

    1. If they are areas of disadvantage then the investment is on the basis of poverty. They are not asking for investment in Hillsborough!
    2. The DUP is expected to deliver its community into a new arrangement that past experience makes them very reluctant to do. Past initiatives haven’t worked. It needs to show that politics can provide clear and tangible benefits. It is practical politics.
    3. If it is Unionists ask for something for the areas they represent its sectarian. If republicans ask for something for the communities they represent “It’s to build confidence and for the good of the peace process”. Double standards surely not?

  • The Dubliner

    Well, there you have it once again: a protestant parliment for a protestant people.

  • TAFKABO

    They’ve had all weekend to come up with something, and this is it?.

    The exposure of Reublicanisms naked sectarainism has rattled them more than I expected.
    No doubt we will soon see a plethora of blogs about DUP plans to eat catholic babies in the near future.

    Leading to the poser: What message does that send to nationalists, who presumably will need persuaded to the Unionist cause for the unionist objective of a permanent Union with Britain to be secured?

    the Union is as secure as it’s ever likely to be, don’t fool yourself into thinking that the DUP need to persuade any more than have already been persuaded.

    Persuading is YOUR job, and you haven’t even started trying.

  • In a strange way I hope you prove me wrong here Chris.

    I’d guess that one of the reasons that the DUP needs to concentrate on making sure deprived Loyalist areas like the Lwr Shankill get their share of funding is because SF is not interested in looking beyond their own narrow sectarian interests and in delivering finance for such places where they’re highly unlikely to get votes.

    Think of the PR value of your party fighting for funding for all constituents of W.Belfast, for example, regardless of their religious or political denomination.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Paul

    You make a very relevant point, and significant challenge to republicans.

    I know that, in West Belfast, Gerry Adams’ office has dealt with many issues from across the divide- many not in the public realm- though, naturally, a helluva lot more can and needs to be done in the time ahead.

    Interestingly, Sinn Fein does seem to have struck a chord with many educationalists from working-class protestant communities due to its stance on the 11 Plus (where the mainstream Unionist parties have taken a firm pro-selection line) and on Education cut backs.

    I know that Sinn Fein played a vocal role in supporting the campaign to save the Bridge Community Centre in Lisburn and have supported efforts to bring investment to areas of deprivation within the Council like Old Warren, a predominantly protestant area, simply on the basis that it is a deprived area according to all statistics.

    That said, I am not going to underestimate the job of work at hand for republicans in this regard. It is surely incumbent upon all involved in the persuasion game to look beyond the comfortable confines of their own community.

    For those of us from a republican viewpoint, this will from a crucial part of our political development from here on, something Gerry Adams indicated in his Ard Fheis speech as a priority for republicans across the island.

  • Comrade Stalin

    fair_deal:

    1. If they are areas of disadvantage then the investment is on the basis of poverty.

    But that’s not what the DUP is asking for. The DUP wants money for “Protestant areas”. When it receives it, it will tell it’s electorate to vote for it on the basis that it successfully got “us Prods” big piles of cash.

    They are merely doing the same thing that nationalists have been doing for years; instead of having the government fund need, it funds by community identity and then by need. This nonsense has to stop.

    If it is Unionists ask for something for the areas they represent its sectarian. If republicans ask for something for the communities they represent “It’s to build confidence and for the good of the peace process”. Double standards surely not?

    A policy of “more funding for Catholic areas” is 100% sectarian and should be resisted. However the mentality that this tribalist thinking is the way to get things done appears to be ingrained too far. The thing about the chuckies is at least they try to present themselves as having what they call an equality agenda. The DUP don’t bother to try to disguise their pitch.

    Regarding the riots at the weekend, I don’t see anything for anyone to get on the moral high ground. We have a lot of “naked sectarianism” on this island, whether it is shown on O’Connell Street or in Carnmoney cemetery. We all need to stop the finger-pointing and get our own houses in order first.

  • The Dubliner

    “If it is Unionists ask for something for the areas they represent its sectarian. If republicans ask for something for the communities they represent “It’s to build confidence and for the good of the peace process”. Double standards surely not?”

    Irrelevant point. The issue is the DUP asking for something exclusively for protestants.

    If Sinn Fein are asking for “something for the communities they represent” (not differentiated by religion) then your point isn’t even a good example of whataboutery.

  • Alan

    I don’t think that anyone can doubt that there is a difference in levels of investment at community level between the two communities, although that has substantially improved over the past few years.

    Indeed the presumed need to maintain funding for existing community organisations was at one stage preventing the seed funding for newly emerging groups.

    If, in a study of areas of disadvantage, community background is seen to be a key indicator, then it is right that community background should be targetted. It’s only a pity that the DUP can’t find it in themselves to speak in those terms – that would add to the debate on disadvantage, rather than sectarianising it.

    The question that has to be answered is how to put investment onto the ground. Hopefully, Hanson will have listened to all those offering advice.

    Alan

  • DK

    One of the reasons that I like reading slugger is that I get a chance to learn some history. So I looked up the “a protestant parliment for a protestant people” speech. Turns out, like most things, it is taken out of context. He is comparing North and South. The full phrase is:

    ‘In the South they boasted of a Catholic State. They still boast of Southern Ireland being a Catholic State. All I boast of is that we are a Protestant Parliament and a Protestant State.’

    He was still a b*got though.

    The DUP have done cross community initiatives before (e.g. Rathlin Island). This one is clearly aimed at the present *perception* among unionists that their areas don’t get funding compared to nationalist areas. The DUP are therefore living up to their voters expectations to deliver.

    Reading the article seems to confirm this – they are attempting to get parity of investment. The fact that catholic areas are in need of more investment due to their higher level of deprivation is, apparently, not an issue to the DUP – the only issue to them is that if a catholic area gets £1 then so should a protestant area.

    This illuminates a lot of what is potentially wrong with NI and equality legislation in general. It is a catch 22 that to invest more in the most deprived areas will mean a sectarian distribution of funds if those most deprived areas happen to be of one religion.

    It also illuminates what is wrong with the DUP. They don’t have the political will to reach across the divide. When they do, unlike Sinn Fein, they don’t use it as a propaganda exercise but brush it under the carpet – more fearful that it would alienate their voters than bring cross-community respect.

    In theory, if the DUP were as slick as Sinn Fein in publicity/propaganda they could even build a cross community support, as they don’t have the violent baggage that Sinn Fein constantly have to haul around and justify. If they had presented this latest proposal as a cross-community equality of funding exercise “£1 for a protestant, £1 for a catholic”, then we would all be praising their non-sectarian and progressive stance. But they wouldn’t do that and couldn’t use that language – and they end up looking like a bunch of sectarian neaderthals… again

    DK

  • yerman

    “The DUP wants money for “Protestant areas”.”

    No it isn’t. It may be asking for money to be invested in Protestant areas, but they are Protestant areas which are suffering disadvantage. Fair_deal makes a very valid point – they aren’t asking for money to go to Hillsborough or Cherry Valley. The money would be for places like the Lower Shankill or the Lower Newtownards Road.

    “I know that, in West Belfast, Gerry Adams’ office has dealt with many issues from across the divide-“

    And you could say that about every public representative in the land. Whether it is actually true or not can never be proven or disproven but I actually believe it happens fairly regularly across both sides of the divide.

    “Interestingly, Sinn Fein does seem to have struck a chord with many educationalists from working-class protestant communities due to its stance on the 11 Plus”

    And interestingly the DUP (and also the UUP) through their support for academic selection have struck a chord with many people from a unionist but particularly a nationalist background. Look at some of the best Grammar schools in the country and they will include the Catholic schools. Many Catholic parents quite like the fact that little Aoife or little Sean was able to avail of a grammar school education and then go on to make use of that in their future career.

    “The issue is the DUP asking for something exclusively for protestants.”

    Wise up – the money would go to protestant/unionist areas. Lets not live in some fantasy where we dont believe that one by and large equals the other. The other point is that the rationale for funding comes from Government itself which has showed that often the worst deprivation is now found in working class unionist/loyalist/protestant areas.

    This is a challenge for nationalists to recognise that they are not the downtrodden underclass they may or may not once have been and that whilst nationalist areas may once have got the lions share of the funding to ease the socio-economic problems that they faced, the money should now go to where it is needed and the cold reality is that it is many unionist areas which are now suffering those problems.

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    Isn’t it amazing how unionist politicians have discovered in the past few years how deprived the areas which they represent have become, during their tenure as representatives.

    Ever since the foundation of the Sub-province in 1920 the north has become more and more impoverished. Coincidentally, the predominant ruling philosophy has been unionist. For many years the unionist community has been insulated against the worst ravages of the misrule by their leaders by the careful cultivation and exploitation at times of anti Catholic sectarianism.

    Apparently the rise of a radical party, albeit from the ‘other side’, has prompted unionist politicians to discover the degeneration of the communities for which they supposedly provided stewardship.

    Ordinary unionists have good reason to be grateful for the rise of Sinn Féin.

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    On a point of order, there seems to be a problem with the system as I have just posted, at 10.28am, and the post has been incorrectly ascribed to slug. I wish to point out that I posted under my own nomme de plume – and not under slug’s – so any responses should take this into account.

    Oilbhéar Chromaill.

  • idunnomeself

    ‘The other point is that the rationale for funding comes from Government itself which has showed that often the worst deprivation is now found in working class unionist/ loyalist/protestant areas’

    What research proved this? I don’t think any did, and this is not my understanding of the situation, so please tell me your sources.

    I have read teh DUP position paper on this issue and it doesn’t use statistics to claim that working class loyalist/ protestant areas are more deprived, rather it accepts that they aren’t, but that people there are angry becasue they FEEL they are being ignored, and that it is this perception, rather than the reality, which they then ask the Government to address.

    They also totally misquote some social capital arguments and ignore the DSD research that proved that Loyalist working class areas have the best social capital and community infrastructure in Northern Ireland!

    IDM

    (OC, amazed how you can get anything back to Stormont!)

  • fair_deal

    CS

    Read the article itself not how CD has spun it. The reason for the meeting was to focus on the need of . Also Dodds presents the work not as sectarian hegemony but in an equality context

    “”These issues were raised because they are all matters where the unionist community, in particular, is not achieving equality and parity of esteem.”

    I would welcome your suggestions on how the DUP deliver a reluctant community if this appraoch is not the way?

    OC

    Its always about Sinn fein and Stormont yawn. The focus on working class issues was not the development of Sinn Fein but the rise of the fringe Loyalist parties, an attempt to gain votes for the pro- and anti-agreement stances through bread and butter politics and the return of meaningful power.

    Dubliner

    “If Sinn Fein are asking for “something for the communities they represent” (not differentiated by religion)”

    LMAO. Areas that vote Sinn Fein are not known for their religious diversity. Although I accept the whataboutery charge.

  • Biffo

    fair_deal

    “Also Dodds presents the work not as sectarian hegemony but in an equality context”.

    What rubbish!

    Everybody knows that there are deprived catholic areas and deprived protestant areas. Dodds certainly knows because he represents some of the most deprived.

    Has he presented his case to his constituents in the New Lodge? Has he advised them that their neighbours a couple of yards away in T.Bay, who have benefitted from all the same schemes and gimicks over the years, now deserve extra money.

    Unionist logic seems to be that now there are schemes like 50/50 recruitment to the police extra money must be given to protestants in order to regain the imbalance.

    Equality doesn’t work like that.

  • Biffo

    fair_deal

    08:53 PM is my comment

    Biffo

  • Comrade Stalin

    DK:

    This illuminates a lot of what is potentially wrong with NI and equality legislation in general. It is a catch 22 that to invest more in the most deprived areas will mean a sectarian distribution of funds if those most deprived areas happen to be of one religion.

    I totally reject this view. A “sectarian distribution of funds” occurs when the government allocates money on the basis of religion. If the government ignores religion and allocates according to need – then it is not a sectarian distribution of funds.

    The sectarianism in this case is coming from the person who ignores the mechanisms used to decide where to fund, and instead looks at the perceived religious bloc it was allocated to. People who measure things in that way need to be faced down.

    Alan writes :

    I don’t think that anyone can doubt that there is a difference in levels of investment at community level between the two communities, although that has substantially improved over the past few years.

    Alan, count me in as a doubter. I bet you don’t have a shred of evidence to back this up. There are no metrics or measurements showing a breakdown of funding across the “two communities” – how could such metrics exist ? In most cases it’s not possible to say “the prods won that round” or “that tranche went to the taigs”.

    To the person posting as slug0 above :

    No it isn’t. It may be asking for money to be invested in Protestant areas, but they are Protestant areas which are suffering disadvantage.

    As soon as you mention “Protestant” and then “funding” in quick succession in the same sentence, then you are allocating money by tribe rather than by need – it is that simple. If the DUP wanted funding targetted at the areas of need, they would say so (and I’d be right behind them). However they’re saying they want funding for Protestant areas of need, which to me pretty much suggests that they do not care what funding non-Protestant areas receive. The argument is purely sectarian and there’s no amount of dressing up can change that.

    Someone said :

    The other point is that the rationale for funding comes from Government itself which has showed that often the worst deprivation is now found in working class unionist/ loyalist/protestant areas

    Then surely it should be sufficient to say “let’s target money at the worst deprived areas”. Why is it necessary to bring perceived religious tribalism into it ? They need the money, they should have it. Because they need it, not because they are Prods.

    fair_deal (quoting Dodds):

    “”These issues were raised because they are all matters where the unionist community, in particular, is not achieving equality and parity of esteem.”

    Somebody show me the evidence that there is systematic discrimination against unionists for funding.

  • fair_deal

    Biffo

    Compare the Duncairn and New Lodge areas. Not far apart in terms of need, one largely Catholic one largely Protestant. In the New Lodge area there is a community organisation, the Ashton Centre, it is an example of good practice in the community sector and is so successful it is listed in the top 100 Northern Ireland companies employing dozens. In Duncairn there is no comparable organisation(s) or anything close.

    Both areas have been covered by the same government polices and initiatives to deal with the problems. One community has succeeded in harnessing these another hasn’t. This is not a lone example and though not universal between the two communities it is common.

    Whatever the intention of the policy it has not had equivalent impacts on communities of different religious and political allegiances who have similar levels of need. Either you ignore these disparities and failures of policy letting the under-development and neglect remain or you say it exists and it needs tackled, whether someone calls you sectarian or not. Either the equality agenda becomes real for the Protestant community or it doesn’t. I am on the side of dealing with an identified problem and making equality real in people’s lives.

    Comrade Stalin

    An example of disparities in funding for you.

    From 1995-2000 MBW/BRO spent £430K on festivals.

    The official analysis claimed 47% spent in nationalist communities, 43% to Unionist communities and 10% to Cross-Community/Other and thus there was no equality issues. However, a group of Prod community workers checked the figures and showed this was false.

    The official report did not bother to identify the community base of all the projects and jiggled the figures by averaging the % breakdown of spends across the MBW teams ignoring the fact different teams spent significantly different amounts on festivals eg. West team spent £190K while South spent £11K.

    The actual spend was 75% Nat, 23% Unionist and 2% Cross-community other. (The year with the highest disparity was the final year under review 90% Nat 10% Uni so the situation got worse over time not better). The population breakdown of the then MBW/BRO areas in terms of religion was 55% RC 34% Prod 10% other or none (1991 Census). So it works out as a 20% overspend in one community, 11% underspend in another (if you do ‘residualise’ the 10% other).

    There were 142 grants to nationalist groups and 57 to Unionist groups. The average grant to nationalist groups was £2253.47 and to Unionist groups was £1754.57.

    Of the top 7 groups who benefitted from this funding (£10K to 102K) 6 were nationalist groups.

    Maybe an answer to why there are more successful festivals in nationalist communities and not Unionist is because for five years one funder gave nationalist communities more than three times the amount of festival investment that it invested in festivals in unionist communities?

    Then you have major employers in the community sector, a number of key funders and bodies have significant under-represenations of Protestants in their staff structures e.g. CFNI, NICVA, EGSA, RCN (Under-representations that have been getting worse).

    You also have the issues around the distribution of Peace monies too.

  • fair_deal

    IDM

    “the DSD research that proved that Loyalist working class areas have the best social capital and community infrastructure in Northern Ireland!”

    That research proved no such thing. It simply proved how costly poor research can be.

    The indicators it used were useless and they way it was structured made the fractionalism of social capital in Prod communities to improve their ratings!

    Its conclusions about Cherryvalley being one of the areas of poorest social capital in is a direct contradiction of basically all other social capital across the world.

  • fair_deal
  • Biffo

    fair_deal

    You are a bullshitter, but not a very good one.

    “I am on the side of dealing with an identified problem and making equality real in people’s lives.”

    What exactly is the identified problem?

    You have actually conceded that the help available to deprived protestant areas is the same as that available to deprived catholic areas (nevermind quoting the DUP and “Prod community workers” nonsense, lets use any statistics from independant and objective sources).

    You have also conceded that the help has been put to better use in catholic areas. You mention the Ashton centre – take a look at their website, look what they actually do – it isn’t rocket science.

    Instead of Nigel Dodds going to the minister to get extra money for protestants he should be going to the New Lodge to find out what they did right with the money that was available to them and the protestants in the first place.

    But he isn’t going there. Because the DUP are making this an issue of sectarian hegemony, as you aptly described it, where protestants get more money simply because they are protestants.

    What you are actually saying is that you want to give more money to protestants to try to achieve the same result that catholics got for less money.

    That’s preposterous!

    How can you claim that giving more money to protestants than you give to catholics is “making the equality agenda real for protestants”.

    Utter nonsense!

    Come back when you’ve got a sensible proposal that might actually lift people out of deprivation and give them some sense of self-reliance (rather than the whingeing victimhood agenda).

  • Biffo

    That 12:20 AM comment is mine.

    Yours faithfully Biffo

  • fair_deal

    Biffo

    “You are a bullshitter, but not a very good one”
    “Come back when you’ve got a sensible proposal that might actually lift people out of deprivation and give them some sense of self-reliance (rather than the whingeing victimhood agenda).”

    Ball not man. Courtesy costs nothing.

    “What exactly is the identified problem?”

    1. Simple, significant amounts of past initiatives didn’t work resulting in underinvestment in DEPRIVED Protestant communities. So what do you do? Ignore it?
    2. Sinn Fein’s Green paper on Irish Unity accepts this situation
    “The most economically disadvantaged unionist
    communities are often as marginalised (in some
    cases more so) than their nationalist
    counterparts.” So why can’t the DUP seek a programme to tackle what Sinn Fein is prepared to concede is a problem?

    “You mention the Ashton centre – take a look at their website, look what they actually do – it isn’t rocket science.”

    1. The nature of the funding system potentially compounds under-development and underinvestment. Many of the initiatives have been time-bound, so if a community for whatever reason didn’t get in at the right time the door becomes closed to that type of development. A community that does well at the beginning has greater chances of benefiting throughout.
    2. Protestant community workers have visited Ashton.
    3. You might like to read L Shorr Common Purpose she shows how most attempts to copy a successful community programme fail. So it isn’t as simple as doing what they did.
    4. How are deprived Prod communities supposed to do what Ashton does WITHOUT the extra investment such a process requires?
    5. While deprived communities have similar deprivation statistics that doesn’t mean they are mirror images with all the same issues. For example for year the protestant community in North Belfast was declining particulalrly losing the socially mobile. While the catholic community was growing in size and its middle class expanding. Thus the social capital challenges for deprived Unionist communities were greater than their nationalist neighbours.

    “You have actually conceded…”

    What you want me to do make false claims about the situation? TSN areas have been covered by the same policies – Yes. Has it produced the same results in all communities – No. Thus the question of why not needs to be asked and what needs to be done differently to remedy it?

    “What you are actually saying is that you want to give more money to protestants to try to achieve the same result that catholics got for less money. That’s preposterous!”

    No. I can speak for myself, I’ll tell you what I am saying.

    Too often Protestant communities did not access the past initiatives so they didn’t get the same amounts of investment. It wasn’t mirror communities receiving equal amounts of investment producing different results – it was communities with different capacity receiving different levels of investment with unsurprisingly different results.

    How do you deal with this legacy of under-investment in DEPRIVED Protestant communities other than by investing? You deliver self-reliance in how you spend that investment.

    “How can you claim that giving more money to protestants than you give to catholics is “making the equality agenda real for protestants”.

    Because they didn’t receive or gain benefits from past investment. Thus extra investment is needed. It is the same principle that underlines all government investment in all deprived communities – These communities have benefitted from society’s broader success so we are highlighting them for extra attention. Are you opposed to that principle?

    Should I go into deprived Protestant communities and say “You didn’t get the investment you needed over the past couple of decades but that’s life and anyway its all your own fault. The mistakes of a past generation will ensure you have no future either. So you’ll just have to lump and buck yourself up.” Nice way to encourage postivity in a community.

    “(nevermind quoting the DUP and “Prod community workers” nonsense, lets use any statistics from independant and objective sources).”

    1. So if you don’t like the messenger you just ignore it? Adams call of enagagement and listening to Unionists is going well isn’t it and its barely a fortnight.
    2. So the next time the West Belfast Economic Forum shows Invest NI isn’t investing in West Belfast I should just call for it to be ignored because it’s a nationalist group?
    3. Email me an address and I will post you the hard copy of the festival research for you to look over so you can check it for yourself. I’ll try to get the list of youth clubs and you can show where the DUP analysis was flawed.

  • fair_deal

    Biffo (continued)

    1. I understand that the grievance about past discrimination against Catholics in Northern Ireland is deep-rooted but it can lead to a perception that somehow Protestants always had it great and they received significant investment in their community. They didn’t. Investment in communities is a development primarily of the late 60’s onwards with the biggest push occuring in the 80’s onwards so most of it has occured when Unionists had no power or ability to skew it to their communities.
    2. The situation on equal treatment especially in employment has changed massively in the past few decades. It is time to recognise that.
    3. It is also time to recognise that Protestant communities don’t always get a fair share of resources and when that occurs it should be tackled. Unionists might feel as if they have been engaged and listened to by republicans and nationalists are willing to recognise this when it occurs rather than abuse them and tell them to do away.

  • idunnomeself

    F_D

    I’ll use the only piece of social capital research (by DSD social capitial qualified researchers and statisticians) rather than rumour and hear say by individuals with very vested interestes, if you don’t mind. In any case I have done a fair bit of background reading around the issue and I don’t think it is very bad, and I think it is probably right to say that middle class prod communities have the worst social capital.

    But my main point is that the DUP don’t try to make the arguments that you do, rather they insist that it is the perception that matters, rather than the reality.

    Maybe they know in the bottom of their hearts that if you don’t apply for a grant you can’t complain when you don’t get it?

    A discussion for another day is whose fault is it that the Prod middle class retreated from their former neighbours in the working class areas. I think the working classes’ attatchment to paramilatarism, unrest, embarrassing sectarianism and so on drove them away in part.

  • elfinto

    The government should spend money repairing the doors of the Alexandra Bar on York Road. The paramilitaries who embezzled the European money from the now defunct Prisoner Aids office directly across the road should be employed as doorstaff.

  • fair_deal

    IDM

    I think it unwise take research at face value. The weakness in its approach is three-fold.
    a) Bad source material – It used the NICVA mailing list as its main source which has a number of weaknesses. Many social capital groups dont have anything to do with NICVA e.g. professional bodies, sporting clubs are social capital netowrks (this explains why middle class areas score poor) but they won’t be registered with NICVA. NICVA has also a stand-off approach to churches again hurting the inclusiveness of its mailing list. Also from use of its lists I have have found them to be significantly out of date with many groups no longer in existnence (but I realsie you won’t accept my word for that).
    b) More is not always better – The approach Deloitte adopted was basically if you had a large number of groups you had good social capital. Multiplicity is not always a sign of success and the duplication, rivalries and competition it can be evidence off can be the major barrier to better development.
    c) Like with like? – There was no assessment of the strength of the organisations. An area could have a number of groups all of which barely function but D&T’s appraoch means it could look better in comparison with an area that has one very successful group.

    “the only piece of social capital research (by DSD social capitial qualified researchers and statisticians)”

    The research was not conducted by “DSD social capitial qualified researchers and statisticians”. It was comissioned to a consultancy Deloitte and Touche who have no particular experience in the field of social capital. DSD also were so unimpressed by this work that it did not accept its conclusions.

    “the only piece of social capital research …rather than rumour and hear say by individuals with very vested interestes”

    It is NOT the only piece of social capital research conducted by government. The other report “Social Capital, Collectivism-Individualism and Community Background in Northern Ireland” (conducted by qualified academics from Northern ireland and America) by OFM/DFM states that
    “In Protestant communities a very significant degree of fragmentation was observed.”
    “The interviews and case studies indicate that some members of the protestant working class place a high value on self-help and are reluctant to look to extrernal sources of support”
    “among Protestants there is a marked difference between the attitudes and outlooks of middle class and working class people…. working class Protestants may be unwilling or unable to work in a co-operative manner”.
    “Some working class communities areas where Unionism (of varying shades) is prevalent were considered to be experiencing community fragmentation and low political integreation with institutional or political elites”
    It also points out the damage Loyalist feuding has had on many deprived Loyalist areas
    “There was strong evidence that the Loyalist feud was a strongly negative influence on those communities and that this internecine conflict strongly inhibits community development”

    “the DUP don’t try to make the arguments that you do, rather they insist that it is the perception that matters, rather than the reality.”

    I am not responsible for the articlacy or otherwise of the DUP’s case but I am entitled to supplement it if I wish.

  • idunnomeself

    I’ll try to find and read the OFMDFM report

    But I have to say that I wouldn’t have quibbled with the DSD methodology so much, it was supported with interviews. In any case if NICVA ignore churches and bands etc then using their lists will under report activity in loyalist areas.

    I liked it because it actually did some research in an area filled with assertion and hearsay. Also it exposed as myths all the parts of the argument that I felt uneasy about- I live in a loyalist area and it has excellent social capital.

    I also think that just because an area has high social capital doesn’t mean it will pull down lots of grants, but that’s their choice and not Government’s fault (and certainly not a reason to go whinging). Because if Government decided to throw money into these areas it would likely be misspent.

  • fair_deal

    IDM

    “In any case if NICVA ignore churches and bands etc then using their lists will under report activity in loyalist areas.”

    It ignores all churches and in many nationalist communities the efforts of the church and church based groups are a central part of community activity.

    “I live in a loyalist area and it has excellent social capital.”

    Good, I never said it is a universal affliction.

    “it was supported with interviews.”
    “I liked it because it actually did some research in an area filled with assertion and hearsay.”

    The OFM/DFM research was based on surveys interviews and case studies under full acadmic supervision and control.

  • Biffo

    fair_deal

    “Email me an address and I will post you the hard copy of the festival research for you to look over so you can check it for yourself.”

    I’d be interested to see the research but I don’t credit the DUP as being fair or objective.

    The festivals issue interests me because the likes of Féile receive a fair bit of funding and there doesn’t seem to be an equivalent in protestant areas.

    But I would also bet my bottom dollar that the DUP study doesn’t take Northern Ireland’s biggest and exclusively protestant festival, the “12th”, into consideration.

    Any objective comparison of protestant and catholic “festival funding” would have to contain details of the cost of the “12th” to the public purse.

  • idunnomeself

    I will read the rest of the OFMDFM report, but the headline is that:

    ‘With regard to social capital the quantitative phase of the study concluded that there was no evidence of Catholic/Protestant differences in social capital as measured in a random sample of the population of Northern Ireland’.

    This in ‘SOCIAL CAPITAL,COLLECTIVISM- INDIVIDUALISM AND COMMUNITY BACKGROUND IN
    NORTHERN IRELAND’

    So at this stage I am not convinced!

    IDM

  • idunnomeself

    Finished it, it reinforces my views, nothing in the DUP claims.

    Very interesting take on ‘low community infrastructure’ certainly nothng in it to suggest that extra funds should be diverted to Protestant/ Loyalist areas over and above what they can already apply for.

    IDM

  • fair_deal

    IDM

    Please read the rest of the executive summary. It identifies a series of problems of social capital in Protestant communities as I exemplified in the quotes I supplied to you previously e.g. fragmentation, individualism, non-co-operation, poor relationship with government and negative impact of feuding.

  • kensei

    “Whatever the intention of the policy it has not had equivalent impacts on communities of different religious and political allegiances who have similar levels of need. Either you ignore these disparities and failures of policy letting the under-development and neglect remain or you say it exists and it needs tackled, whether someone calls you sectarian or not. Either the equality agenda becomes real for the Protestant community or it doesn’t. I am on the side of dealing with an identified problem and making equality real in people’s lives.”

    So, as others have said, the failure isn’t in the availibility of funds, but rather the fact that Prods don’t apply for them.

    The failure isn’t the government’s. The failure is in the leaders of Unionism at all levels. The biggest leaders, the DUP, answer to that is to call for a sectarian distribution of funds. And you wonder why people are incensed?

  • kensei

    The name thing on this is buggered

    kensei

  • fair_deal

    kensei

    You seem ignorant of how equality protections work. If you analyse a policy and discover it fails to impact on the Section 75 groups you must take action to rectify it whether it is a direct or inidrect consequence of the policy.

  • kensei

    “You seem ignorant of how equality protections work. If you analyse a policy and discover it fails to impact on the Section 75 groups you must take action to rectify it whether it is a direct or inidrect consequence of the policy.”

    No, I understand fully how it works. “Protestants are not applying for money to which they are entitled”

    Is the answer:

    a. Spend money on an education campaign in Protestant areas, explaining how they can calim this money (and shout at their leadership for their utter failure in their regard) and continue to distribute on a non sectarian basis.

    b. Demand special Prod money.

    Clue – b is for bigot.

  • kensei

    Name still buggered.
    And b i g o t is a bad word, apparently.

    kensei

  • idunnoemself

    F_D

    I did read all of it. like not just the summary, the whole thing.

    Those bits you quoted were what Protestant Community Workers/ Politicians said, when they were explaining the perceived shortages of social capital in their areas.

    Once again Perceived

    The evidence showed that there were no differences, and therefore these explanations only served to show that community workers are never content with the social development of their area!

    The report’s authors then had to go on to explain why people had convinced themselves why there was a problem in Protestant working class areas when there was no evidence of this. They made some interesting points about the dislocation of the community development theory here from that in the rest of the world, how the idea of ‘weak’ community infrastructure was not used anywhere else, and how socail development should be based on community assets, rather than weaknesses’

    I see you picked up on this last point in your blog today (good to see you picking up the baton), and I agree that if this is properly incorporated in community development theory here then there is a chance that it will prove a lot more successful than it has in the past.

    I’m trying to be polite here, but it’s clear to me that this report doesn’t support your ideas/ thesis but rather undermines them