On the real nature of the DUP…

Brian Feeney wonders whether ‘the bulk of DUP voters’ has the stomach to follow where some of the leading figures wish to take it. He believes that the DUP is now the primary subject of British government pressure – though he is unconvinced that their support is ready for them to bow to it. Interestingly, pressure was a recurrent theme in the ensemble work that was the DUP’s Westminster performance yesterday. Gregory Campbell for instance:

…if we are making progress with democratising the IRA, we keep making that progress. If we are pushing those in the IRA in the right direction, we keep pushing them in the same direction. We do not ease up; we do not change tack; we do not legitimise them, but we keep pushing them in the same direction. Therefore, if the tactics of a more recent vintage are working—unlike the tactics leading up to 1998 and subsequently, which patently did not work—the message is clear: we keep adopting the same tactics. If that takes until November or December, or November 2007 or 2008, we keep adopting the same tactics. We require the IRA to be gone, to be history, to be out of guns and out of business and to be finished and not coming back.

Interestingly too, in the first substantial post on Slugger, I made reference to Steven King’s lament that the Belfast City Council had, by electing the first Sinn Fein Lord Mayor of Belfast, missed an opportunity to exert collective pressure on the IRA to decommission.

The essential strategic weakness then was in expecting a loose federation of interests to use a number of ad hoc opportunities to pressurise the IRA into action. The sheer calmness and focus of the DUP’s delivery – each MP had a different audience to hit – and the weight of concessions the party has wrought tells its own story.

  • Reader

    kensei: Would it make you more likely to consider a UI?
    It would be a token^H^H^H^H^H start.
    The decision, for me anyway, is likely always to be based on identity. So ‘consider’? No – but it would be easier to be reconciled to incorporation if there was more than lip service paid to the validity of the unionist identity.
    I get the feeling that nationalists experience almost physical pain when thinking about the need to accommodate unionism in the long term, in any concrete manner.

  • páid

    Now, on the spelling of donegal or donegall. OK. I am drifting from the theme bigtime but seeing we’ve had derry council and yasser arafat appearing in cameos….. it never ceases to amaze me how people get upset with translated spellings. No end of erstwhile nationalists crib that ‘there is only one ‘l’ in donegal’ Fort of the foreigner – Dún na nGall – see 2 ‘l’s in the Irish version! No end of unionists get upset that there is an Irish version, and all the terrible implications therein! The Hebrides are known to their unionist and other inhabitants as the isles of the foreigner – Inse Gall. But that is ok. Because they are humble Scottish peasants who don’t know any better. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!!! Sorry, just in from the pub.

  • kensei

    “It would be a token^H^H^H^H^H start.”

    Touche

    “The decision, for me anyway, is likely always to be based on identity. So ‘consider’? No – but it would be easier to be reconciled to incorporation if there was more than lip service paid to the validity of the unionist identity.”

    Which why I think it should wait until a United Ireland looks like a realistic prospect. I’m happy to help accomodate unionism, but I would prefer for there to be some construction pay off fromthe actions. I not sure there would be at the moment.

    “I get the feeling that nationalists experience almost physical pain when thinking about the need to accommodate unionism in the long term, in any concrete manner.”

    That argument is quite easily reversed.

  • declan

    “I think it should wait until a United Ireland looks like a realistic prospect”

    Unfortunately the days of Catholic increase could be coming to an end, so far from it becoming a realistic prospect, which it is not now, it may become obvious that a United Ireland isn’t going to happen. In those circumstances, you know what I suggest nationalists may begin to start thinking about.

  • Tiny

    Does a party that raises funds by organising gospel concerts with jokes about the late Pope’s medical condition have a long term future in an increasingly secular Northern Ireland?

  • fair_deal

    kensei

    “the OO doesn’t have that respect”

    It isnt about respect. It is what right one community has to dictate to another what its traditions are. I have no right to tell the GAA how to play hurling, how people should conduct Irish dancing, how Irish should be spoken or any other Irish tradition.

    Whatever you perception of what the OO is about none of means a individual member of the OO has abrogated their human rights.

    “Maybe it wasn’t moving fast enough. Maybe there is a cat’s chance in hell of getting anything we want out of it. Regardless of what SF did or did not do, perhaps Unionism could rise above it. ”

    It is now pretty clear that no matter Unionists were to do on Council you will damn them.

    If they don’t support a nationalist proposal, they are to be damned.
    Then you say they should offer their own proposals, if they do, you damn them for telling nationalists “what they can have”
    You say they should negotiate, when it is shown there is a mechanism for this, you damn them it not giving you what you want quickly enough.
    Even when you are prepared to concede SF may have been in error, Unionists are still to damned for not rising above it.

    “Our symbols and culture are still not officially recognised.”

    The list of schooling, funding etc would dispute that. As does signing the European Charter and giving Irish the highest level of recoognition under it, Part 3 which covers the all the key roles of government.

  • IJP

    To use my right of reply, ideally we wouldn’t have a Unionist or a Nationalist about the place – the whole sectarian system has destroyed this country politically, socially and economically.

    And as a result of this system, I doubt there’s a single person in or from NI who’s not sectarian in some ways, frankly. That includes me, but I’ll be judged on actions like everyone else – and by far more important people than some of those who spend their entire lives on this forum without getting out there to try to make a difference in the real world.

    That is also why we need to think again about defining ‘cross-community’ – that means a lot more than getting a token Prod and a token Taig in a room and allowing them to disagree. And we need to think again about defining ‘mutual respect’ too – as we saw on the thread about the moderator, no one has quite grasped what this means. You can *respect* another’s view without having to *agree* with it. Attacks on Nationalism are not attacks on ‘Catholics’, and attacks on Unionism are not attacks on ‘Protestants’ – it is perfectly reasonable to have political debate about the values of NI’s constitutional position! It is worrying that people in our society refuse to come to terms with that in favour of defending a sectarian system which has served us all so appallingly.

    ——————————————

    Anyway, the subject…

    The DUP’s performance at Westminster was pretty remarkable frankly. Their conference in February indicated no intention whatsoever to progress, they seemed content to sit around and wipe out the UUs at the next Westminster election.

    However, I detect that the ‘new DUP’ and many ‘older DUP’ recognize that that is not what the people voted for. They voted not for stagnation, but for a ‘fair deal’.

    As Alan McFarland said at the 2003 election count, it’ll not be easy for the DUP – but they won fair and square, and they’ll have to deliver.

  • tim to tiny

    lo tiny, did you hear any of the jokes ??

    if so can you post em here pls

    the only good one i heard was

    Pope John Paul said he’s worried about the declining number of priests in the United States.
    Sponsored Links

    On the other hand, it shows that our justice system is working.” –-Jay Leno

    rofl very good

    on a more serious note however, here is a news story whivh seems to suggest pope john paul ii performed a miracle AFTER he died…way out !!

    http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2006/3/13/150456.shtml

  • kensei

    “It isnt about respect. It is what right one community has to dictate to another what its traditions are. I have no right to tell the GAA how to play hurling, how people should conduct Irish dancing, how Irish should be spoken or any other Irish tradition.”

    No, it really is about respect at a deep and fundamental level.

    None of the Irish activities you mention are agressive acts. The OO insisting on walking through a nationalist neighbourhood, however, is. Honestly, I am happy for unionism to argue this for all eternity, because you are in the wrong and wanton agression is the greatest gift to the nationalist cause you can posisbly give us.

    I also gave specific proposlas for what I think needs done on this thread, which you haven’t commented on, by the by.

    “Whatever you perception of what the OO is about none of means a individual member of the OO has abrogated their human rights.”

    There is no human right to walk down a particular street just beause you want to.

    “It is now pretty clear that no matter Unionists were to do on Council you will damn them.”

    No, if they stick a window up to James Connolly I will praise them high heavens. In fact, I’ll make apoint of telling all my friends and random strangers. Or even a St Pats Parade without ridiculous rainbow shamrocks.

    “If they don’t support a nationalist proposal, they are to be damned.
    Then you say they should offer their own proposals, if they do, you damn them for telling nationalists “what they can have” ”

    Depoends on how they are offering it. I thought I made that clear. At the moment you are telling me what I can have and not listening to what I’m telling you I want. It doesn’t have to be a window, statue will do. It doesn’t have to Connolly, something to all the heroes of 1916 would probably do.

    “You say they should negotiate, when it is shown there is a mechanism for this, you damn them it not giving you what you want quickly enough.”

    I honestly don’t know enough about it. I was merely speculating. I suspect a Nationalist with more information may have a diffeent opinion.

    “Even when you are prepared to concede SF may have been in error, Unionists are still to damned for not rising above it.”

    I didn’t damn them. I merely made a suggestion.

    And your case in general would hold a lot more water if the DUP haven’t been anti everything Irish for 40 years. Which I think, if you rewind back, was my original point.

    “The list of schooling, funding etc would dispute that. As does signing the European Charter and giving Irish the highest level of recoognition under it, Part 3 which covers the all the key roles of government. ”

    I was in the City Centre yesterday. Where are these symbols then, because I looked everywhere.

  • the columbian

    kensei, maybe you should readmy recent posts here to understand why unionists find your 1916 heroes so repugnant.

    http://www.sluggerotoole.com/index.php/weblog/comments/orange_finally_realise_its_good_to_talk/P50/

  • yerman

    Tiny
    “Does a party that raises funds by organising gospel concerts with jokes about the late Pope’s medical condition have a long term future in an increasingly secular Northern Ireland?”

    That would be entirely up to the voters to decide.

    IJP
    I hesitate to use the phrase “take seriously”, but I wouldn’t take as an absoulte policy guide, the DUP Conference. Over the last number of years it has been used quite often as an election launch and I think this one had more than a hint of celebration after the election about it. I suppose they’re allowed that.

    I think you’re not too far off the mark about realising what people actally did vote for. I think there is a realisation that all of the new votes that the Party has gained have come over to protest against Trimble or the UUP – that fight has been won. The electorate have given an opportunity now to do a better job. I think a lot of people, in particular nationalists, haven’t quite grasped that the DUP realise this.

    It may not be always evident at the first cursory glance, but study things a little deeper, and you’ll realise that they have got a handle on where they want to go and how they want to get there.

  • kensei

    “kensei, maybe you should read my recent posts here to understand why unionists find your 1916 heroes so repugnant.”

    Perhaps you should read the replies on why there was a mulittude of factors for the decline of Protestantism in the South. The most significant wa sundoubedly the Catholic Church’s insistence on all children of mixed marriages being Catholic.

    Maybe you should also realise that the events that were unacceptable are not directly attributable to 1916, and would have appalled many taking part.

    Maybe you should also update your arguments to take account of the fact in modern Ireland the trend is reversing.

    Maybe I ignored you as I couldn’t be bothered. I’m certainly interested in what measures I could take to convince you that the South is a modern democracy, unlike the backwater we live in. Misinformed carping on the other hand, no.

  • the columbian

    kensei ahhh nothing like a good dose of self denial is there

    quote “directly attributable to 1916, and would have appalled many taking part”

    so nobody done it then?? those good old honourable republican heroes gained independance, put on their slippers and retired.

    are you REALLY that stupid

    as for your window forget it unless a window commerating the shankill butchers goes up along side it in the interests of equality

    kensei you are what i call a DFB

  • kensei

    “so nobody done it then?? those good old honourable republican heroes gained independance, put on their slippers and retired.”

    A lot did. Some didn’t. And in case it escaped your notice, most of the leaders of the Roising were shot. And pleas epay attention, we’ve already covered this point. It was one but not the significant factor in the decline.

    It was also 80 years ago. I am not interested in building the Ireland of the 1920’s.

    “are you REALLY that stupid”

    Apparently, yes.

    “as for your window forget it unless a window commerating the shankill butchers goes up along side it in the interests of equality”

    I think I’ll bite really, really hard and avoid taking the bait on that one.

    “kensei you are what i call a DFB”

    I thought it was only Nationalists who went for the man. Unionist posters are so much more polite, apparently.

  • Reader

    kensei: Or even a St Pats Parade without ridiculous rainbow shamrocks.
    The rainbow shamrock seems to have been a largely nationalist initiative from 2005:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4266125.stm

  • Rubicon

    TC – YES – some DID retire (please refer to my reply on the thread “Orange (finally) realise it’s good to talk”).

    You seem to be stuck in a mentality that the circumstances of some in the 1920’s might be able to justify – THEN. In fact, with time it seems you’ve poisoned your views so that even the Shankill Butchers could be seen as equivalent to James Connolly.

    Wouldn’t your Grandmother who you say was appalled by discrimination be left gasping by such a comparison? Remember, James Connolly was a labour man who abhorred discrimination.

  • IJP

    yerman

    You’re entirely right, but I should’ve been clearer – I wasn’t referring to policy, I was referring to ‘atmosphere’ or ‘instinct’.

    I simply did not get the feeling in February, either from Conference or from DUP Cllrs in North Down, that ‘movement’ was forthcoming.

    From about late March onwards there has been a sense that it is forthcoming.

  • fair_deal

    “There is no human right to walk down a particular street just beause you want to”

    You seem very ignorant of human rights. There is it is caled freedom of assembly. Freedom of expression and freedom of association are also relevant too.

  • kensei

    “You seem very ignorant of human rights. There is it is caled freedom of assembly. Freedom of expression and freedom of association are also relevant too.”

    I’m not sure they translate into walking down wherever you want, whenever you want. In this instance, all of those criteria are as easily satisifed on a differnet route.

    And again, they are competing with the rights of the residents.