Pressure To Build On DUP

The most significant aspect of this week’s announcement was the joint decision by both premiers to turn the spotlight firmly on the DUP. Though the form of joint management – or ‘joint authority-lite’ as one wag commented to me- has not been properly sketched out, what is clear is that the DUP have been given a very short time-frame to perform a massive u-turn and accept the Good Friday Agreement, with all that entails for power-sharing and participation in all-Ireland structures.

The decision to significantly scale down the shadow Assembly proposals- and to make its operation contingent upon nationalist co-operation- not only delivered a ‘bloody nose’ to the octogenarian leader (as noted by Brian Feeney in the Irish News this week) but also stripped the DUP of any political cover as it enters the most critical phase of its tenure as lead party within unionism. The early signs would appear to indicate that the party has been out-maneouvred by the two governments on this occasion.

  • observer

    didnt Hain confirm there would be no joint authority?
    nothing to fear here for the DUP

  • It’s pathetic that even with something as depressing as the threat of a return to Stormont, and all the ballsups that will undoubtedly entail – all commentators can do is argue over “who won?” Would someone please change the record?

    Devolving power to the bigots at Stormont, incapable of working together, spending their whole time arguing over which side is more hard done by, benefits nobody except the 108 (102?) assembly members getting paid grand sums of money for cocking this country up even further.

  • slug

    Agree Beano. It seems a lot of people think the key thing is the other side lost. Its embedded in their mind.

  • Snuff Box

    The two governments have set things up brilliantly for both SF and the DUP. SF will withdraw from stormont at some point due to the shadow nature of the assembly and the belief that unionists dont want to share power. The DUP can then call the unionist people to protest at more Southern involvement in Northern Ireland affairs.
    Both sides getting what they want ultimately. More fear in their respective communities leading to more votes for those who shout the loudest.

  • “Both sides getting what they want ultimately. More fear in their respective communities leading to more votes for those who shout the loudest. “

    For some reason I fear that assertion could be quite accurate, but I suppose time will tell.

  • Shore Road Resident

    Very true – but the real problem here is that I still can’t get my browser to load News Letter pages, or any the other ‘Town X Today’ sites that have suddenly taken over Northern Ireland.
    Techie tips greatly appreciated.

  • slug

    SRR I use Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer and both work fine.

  • SRR from my scant recollection of your mentioning this before it sounded like a problem with your ISP, but it’s hard to say with these things.

  • When the DUP were a small party saying “Nay” was easy. Now that they are in charge of unionism, expect cracks to appear, little at first and then massive splits. Its the nature of things.

  • fair_deal

    Sinn Fein has been going to meetings for months reading the riot act unless there was a solo run at an Executive under the existing legislation. Despite this squealing it still happens with multi-runs at an Executive and talks to discuss changes to the Agreement.

    Also the idea of a shadow assembly was a Unionist idea, SF and the SDLP may have diluted it but the initiative in the process was taken by Unionism not nationalism. It was nationalism put on the backfoot within the process.

    To deflect from this we have had the DI, Sunday Business Post and Brian Feeney pushing the line that this is not a demonstration of republican inability to dictate the process but really a defeat for the DUP. Hmmmm.

    Also this week the DUP got a multi-million pound package announced with a focus on deprived Loyalist communities and when Paisley communicated his unhappiness about the joint authority talk, Peter Hain completely backed off. Plus the possibility of changes to the Agreement remains.

    Bertie Ahern has stressed how ALL parties will be out of the loop if the cast-iron November deadline isn’t reached. It should be remembered Sinn Fein has previously attacked Bertie for not being enthusiastic about All-Ireland stuff.

    I doubt if the Doc shall be losing too much sleep tonight.

  • Who

    SRR try reinstalling IE.

  • kensei

    “Sinn Fein has been going to meetings for months reading the riot act unless there was a solo run at an Executive under the existing legislation. Despite this squealing it still happens with multi-runs at an Executive and talks to discuss changes to the Agreement.”

    While Sinn Fein might not like multi runs, it does not necessarily follow that it is a defeat for them. I find it hard to believe no one in the Republican movement saw the momentum of such a proposal. The strategy may have been to limit it as much as possible, because if it collapses, Unionism will be blamed, in all liklihood. And we are also assuming that SF will be there right to the end of November. The summer and comments from Mr Paisley might effected that.

    “To deflect from this we have had the DI, Sunday Business Post and Brian Feeney pushing the line that this is not a demonstration of republican inability to dictate the process but really a defeat for the DUP. Hmmmm.”

    I really don’t think anyone has won out of this. The proposals as put forward are also a long way from what the DUP wanted. But then again they may be playing the same push it as far as possible game.

    “Bertie Ahern has stressed how ALL parties will be out of the loop if the cast-iron November deadline isn’t reached. It should be remembered Sinn Fein has previously attacked Bertie for not being enthusiastic about All-Ireland stuff.”

    Sinn Fein forcing the Irish Government into taking a more proactive stance with North South bodies is a defeat? And the possibility remains of SF within the Southern Government in the near to mediujm term.

    But really, that’s the governments’ game. Everyone can claim a piece, no one is happy.

  • p o neill

    nothing will work until the connection with england is broken…

  • I agree with CD in his analysis of the point of the initiative, i.e. to build pressure on the DUP, but surely Hain’s immediate withdrawal shows that he hasn’t the balls to follow it through?

    As I say in my spanking new blog (can someone, anyone, please visit?) the British have to move away from the position that failure to do a deal here will be ‘punished’ by Direct Rule. Given the DUP’s current electoral strength, Driect Rule is grand, thanks very much.

  • David Michael

    urquhart

    On the contrary, I believe Hain has plenty of balls. Watch his style in the coming months.

    A few of us were talking last night about the next Labour leader. No one likes Brown but Hain’s name came up. So far as I know he hasn’t put himself forward, but..

    He looks well, speaks well, has ideas, can hold down at least two jobs 😉

  • “He looks well, speaks well, has ideas, can hold down at least two jobs ;-)” I’m not a man for the permatan David, but I see where you’re you’re coming from.

    Also, he has seemed to encourage an almost total lack of integrity among his Ministers at the NIO since coming here – so I suppose yes, he might make an OK candidate.

  • David Michael

    urquhart

    “Also, he has seemed to encourage an almost total lack of integrity among his Ministers at the NIO since coming here”

    Zounds, you might as well be talking about Tony Blair!

    He’s in.

  • missfitz

    Congrats on the new blog urquhart, it looks very well and hope you enjoy it!

  • Thanks missfitz. Hopefully see you over there some time soon.

  • Yokel

    Of course Hain confirmed what we already knew and plenty of people chose to ignore because of their own politics (and in some cases wishes to have a good wind up). Joint Authority in any effective form is a constitutional change and requires the vote of people here. It would go down the drain in that vote. Democracy. What other people missed was Dermot Ahern categorically ruling out Joint Authority the other day.

    Hain is many things but I don’t think he’s a liar like his boss. He has been faced with a situation where the scare stories have been out (Martin McGuinness did a great pot stir talking about Joint Authority, nice one)and he needed to secure the situation. If he didn’t he was facing the unionists probably not bothering to reall play under the face of threat. Thus the initiative was screwed before it started.

    All those psosts joyfully saying ‘oh joint authority, whoopee do’ ignored the facts. To come out in public and say it is a deliberately timed statement to cut the specluation.

  • George

    One thing I see in all this is a beautiful piece of political work from Fianna Fail, the cutest hoors on this island by a long shot.

    Bertie takes control of the “Irish” part of the rudderless peace process in December, just a couple of months ahead of the next Dail election.

    First he reclaims 1916 and now he reclaims total ownership of the peace process from SF.

    If there is no assembly, Bertie wins as the pari of safe hands and if there is one reconvened he wins too for hanging tough.