A Victory v A Fair Deal

Martin O’Muileoir, speaking on yesterday’s Talkback, offered some advice on how the DUP could sell a deal with Sinn Fein. He advocated that the DUP should “make a good victorious speech”. While declaring victory is very tempting, is it good advice? The DUP have learned from the UUP’s experiences in the process and the UUP suffered from over-selling, will the DUP ignore this lesson and be tempted to crow? If a deal is done should the DUP take a measured approach, perhaps ‘In November 2003 the DUP were tasked with negotiating a fair deal. Now, through hard work and abiding by our pledges, we have succeeded in getting a fair deal. This deal is good for everyone.’?

O’Muilleoir also believed the nationalist community would be “indifferent” to such declarations, would they?Full quote below

How will the DUP make a deal with Sinn Fein? The precedent, the precedent is the wonderful speech. It was a wonderful piece of political acrobatics that Edwin Poots made on the site of the Maze Long Kesh Prison Camp. In the summer when he agreed to chair the Maze/Long Kesh body which is going to build a stadium and a peace centre, a conflict transformation centre and preserve the H Block hospital and what Edwin did, he did what Ian Paisley doing today, he claimed credit for the peace that we enjoy. He said he had democratised Sinn Fein. He said it was a blow to terrorists that actually they were taking part in this panel, in setting up this panel, setting up this peace centre and stadium. And I think the Dup need to take, they need to take that precedent and they need to say all the speeches. They need to say they have defeated Sinn Fein, they promised they would do it in 1985 “I’ll smash Sinn Fein” I think the nationalist community is indifferent to this, they can say whatever they want but I think they could make a good victorious speech to explain why they are going into government. And the great thing is the half-full glasses, that Gregory Campbell didn’t rule out today, he didn’t rule out making a deal by the 24th November.

  • Alan

    Yes, this is getting to be a common call.

    I remember the first few responses on Slugger to the IRA’s “almost decommissioning” before the fall of the Assembly included a suggestion from an “Ed Ucate” that the UUP play it as a win

  • circles

    Would the proclamation of a fair deal suffice to placate the unionist electorate I wonder? I am not sure – maybe some, but the DUP (particularly the good Doc) do love their populism and know how to play their electorate very well, and may feel they need to beef it up a bit. They also need to show that they have won where the UUP lost – so they need to sell it as a victory.
    On the other hand, they have no other credible unionist party sniping at them from behind and can afford a little generosity in announcing the deal.
    But the Doc will and should sell it as his parting fanfare – his gift of peace to the loyal and the democratisation of SF.
    Personally I wouldn’t be bothered by this – anything that gets the majority of unionists behind it. And anyway, I’m used to hearing the big cockerel crowing – it probably would hae been harder to take if it had have been Trimble.

  • Mick Fealty

    My impression since November 03 is that the DUP have killed off the rhetorical flourishes of winning and losing. I also get a strong sense that a good many nationalists appear not to have noticed this shift: possibly due to watching/listening to the ‘Doc’ too closely!

    The current line they have in terms of weathering the negotiation process is ‘keep the pressure up, the Republican movement only coughs up when under pressure’, has been prominent for months.

    But Fair Deal is how they packaged their offering from that Assembly Election until now. And I would expect that is the way it will be sold when it is finally done.

  • TCD student

    If the DUP can sell it to their electorate I think the nationalists won’t mind whatever crowing is done and whatever victories are celebrated, being slightly more thickskinned perhaps than our stormont bedfellows. If the deal is done and devolution is restored, that’s the most important thing to SF’s electorate

  • bootman

    I have to say I dont remember the UUP ever suffering from “over-selling”, if anything their problem was that they refused to sell what they had won to their electorate

  • Henry94

    If they can sell, working the deal Dvid Timble negotiated while they were outside the gate,as a victory then they could sell rosary beads on the Shankill.

  • fair_deal

    bootman

    Examples of UUP overselling are Ken Maginnis and the claim the RUC had been saved, that decommissioning would happen in a two year time scale

  • Captain Renault

    henry

    Not sure that selling rosary beads on the Shankill would be a problem.
    After all, one unionist commentator here claimed around the 12th (last year perhaps) that catholics enjoyed going to the field in the past and that the tea and scone stands were manned mainly by nuns.

  • Amusing to hear a Sinn Fein/IRA spinmeister offer advice to the DUP. They should, of course, ignore it. This is as you know, for the consumption of the chattering classes who so YEARN for a deal with the IRA. I sincerely hope the DUP ignore it and treat the government funded governmen appointed IMC report with extreme caution. It’s not what it says that matters….

  • John East Belfast

    Henry94

    Spot on regarding the unfaithfulness of the unionist electorate.

    The DUP are helping Republicans finally cross the Finishing Line of this marathon in which all the heavy lifting was done by the UUP.

    The main reason UUP could not sell their victory were three fold

    1. The finishing line – although in sight had not been crossed

    2. We couldnt sell it internally and substantial energy was wasted fighting the internal battle with people who eventually mostly left. However we will end up with the same arrangement and as would have happened naturally – the Provos are gradually fading away.

    Meanwhile more years have been wasted and god knows how many billions of investment have since gone elsewhere.

    Like what was the Unionist NO camp all about in the end ??

    3. We were poor and reticent communicators of our success

    On another note a lot of voters on both sides take their victory from how the other side react.

    Therefore if Republicans dont react DUP voters might feel they have been sold a pup !

    Also if Republicans dont react to Paisley’s victory speech – which will be boistrously and articulately delivered – then have they really recognised that late 20th Century militant Irish Republicanism was a terrible waste of a generation ?

    What did it achieve ?

    and before you say Power sharing I can assure you that by this time a whole generation of unionists would have long since recognised that first past the post politics in a tribal society was not the best way to deliver democracy.

    Having said all that perhaps the unionist electorate are just canny.
    They knew the final driving of the knife into SF had to be done by DUP as the UUP were too exhuasted by then and being honest we probably would have let them go on a bit longer in order to advance NI as an economic entity.

    However once the beast is finally slain it will be all bets off again for the unionist vote and I have no doubt that with the right candidates that those who have loaned their votes to the DUP will return to the UUP

  • Henry94

    JEB

    It would be easier to believe we could have had power-sharing without a struggle by now if it wasn’t such a struggle to get it now.

    The problem the DUP have is that a lot of their voters oppose power-sharing. Any deal under any conditions that brings power-sharing about creates a political opportunity to their right.

  • circles

    JEB – I think the slaying of the best is perhaps a bit too hopeful on your part. SF have not suddenly found themselves in a situation they have not been expecting. For the last 20 years this situation has been part of the plan, and they really won’t be going away you know (see the “sticky” post down below).
    Theatrics though are fine – as long as we all get down to business as soon as possible.

  • circles

    best = beast – sorry

  • JOGGER

    Not a bit of wonder that Daily Ireland closed if this the type of crap that O’Muileoir published in it.
    There should be no victory speeches, remember approx 3,900 innocent lives were lost and many thousands others injured thriughout The Troubles.

    Their should be a period of silence instead of victorious speeches to remember all the innocent people whe were affected.
    But that goes to show how insensitive republicans are to human suffering.

  • paid

    I hear TB talking of a ‘final settlement’.

    For you maybe, Tone.

  • Carson’s Cat

    JEB
    “Spot on regarding the unfaithfulness of the unionist electorate.”

    Ahh, the old UUP faithful – if all goes badly then blame the electorate! Now that’s a winning formula. First lesson – these people are actually the peoplt that are supposed to vote for you. If you treat them as if they are stupid, or blame them for being too lazy to come out and vote for you then chances are they will actually not vote for you.

    The days of the UUP ‘deserving’ to be voted for are over. You actually have to earn support these days. I know its a tricky concept.

    Moving on, even if I agreed with your analysis of the UUP doing all the ‘heavy lifting’ you seem to have ignored a few issues.

    “1) Finish line was in sight but not crossed”

    Trouble is the UUP showed very early on that they were prepared to settle for much less than their own self-declared “finish line”. Why would the Provos ever bother doing anything when they knew you’d settle for less.

    You undermined yourself and then complain that others follow a successful strategy.

    “2. We couldnt sell it internally and substantial energy was wasted fighting the internal battle…..

    The inability to sell it internally is a failure of Trimble, Empey & co whose job it was to sell the many ‘victories’ they claimed they had won. If you had people who opposed you then boohoo, its still your own failure that you couldnt convince them.

    Even if we were to arrive at the same arrangement (despite having already moved some distance from the Belfast Agreement) then it would simply show just how much better others were at selling it than Trimble, Empey & Co. Again, no-one’s fault but your own.

    “3. We were poor and reticent communicators of our success”

    Bit of a theme developing here. Is there anything that the UUP actually is good at?

    “They knew the final driving of the knife into SF had to be done by DUP as the UUP were too exhuasted by then and being honest we probably would have let them go on a bit longer in order to advance NI as an economic entity.”

    Oh woe is you indeed. Exhausted? What you actually mean is that the UUP was inept, it didnt know exactly what it had or hadnt agreed, it couldnt agree a line to stick to and it couldnt sell a message to even its own core support. If that exhausts them then they didnt have much stamina anyway.

    “However once the beast is finally slain it will be all bets off again for the unionist vote and I have no doubt that with the right candidates that those who have loaned their votes to the DUP will return to the UUP”

    Yes, of course once the ‘beast is slain’ the unionist community will immediately forget who done the slaying. I’m not saying that the DUP can become complacent (see earlier about earning votes) but I would think that there will be a decent honeymoon period where the DUP will rightly earn the spoils from delivering a fair deal. Far from the tables turning, especially in the short term, there is actually likely to be an upturn in DUP support. After all, there is no real sign of the base support leaving and even more people who still didnt believe they were serious could now start to look at the DUP as a serious option. Those people who believed they would never share power would have no excuse.

    What exactly does the UUP have to offer in the post-deal scenario? The old line of “well we done the work early on” isn’t washing so far and there’s no reason why it would then.

    The UUP could work their way back, but the trouble for them is that if the decline continues pre-deal, and if there is any acceleration in their decline post-deal then they may just have gone past the tipping point and make it near impossible for them to make a serious return.

    People may have ‘loaned’ their votes to the DUP, but why should they change their vote if the DUP do nothing to make them want to take their ‘loan’ elsewhere. Also, for some people, they have been ‘on loan’ since 2001 – they havent moved back and people can get accustomed to voting for a particular party very quickly. Those people who voted, maybe with some trepadation, in the last couple of elections for the DUP have now realised that the sky doesnt fall in when you “vote for Paisley” – and actually, far from predictions of the UUP et al, that progress can be made with the DUP, and is actually only likely to be made with the DUP.

    Your language belies the old UUP attitude. I believe that votes are always ‘on loan’- people can shift them any time. The UUP believes that they ‘own’ votes and that people are only voting DUP out of temporary insanity and will eventually see sense and return to the ‘decent’ party. Good luck with seeing how that goes. The UUP strategy seems to have been stuck since 2003- waiting for the DUP to mess up and reap whatever benefit comes. A strategy which relies completely on things outside of your control isn’t actually a strategy but just an aspiration.

  • Jonathan

    Martin O’Muileoir must be looking for a new job as DUP spinmaster since he closed down Daily Ireland.

  • slug

    Declarations of victory would underestimate the electorates intelligence. The outcome we have is certainly no victory for one side or the other.

    The declaration of victory would undoubtedly come back to haunt the person who makes the declaration.

  • Captain Renault

    Slug

    I agree with you that there is no victory here for anyone. My sense though is that catholics won’t be too upset if the doctor crows about victory in order to sell a deal since their lot has improved immensely since the start of the current “troubles”. They certainly will never have to suffer being second class citizens ever again.

  • binman

    This in not a victory for anyone, and should not be treated as such. There has been much pain and suffering for any one side to be victorious.

    Republican mouth piece O’Muilleoir is just trying to stir up the DUP into doing this, and then Sinn Fein will cut them down. Simple SF tactics but would be very effective if the DUP fall for it.

  • URQUHART

    Jonathan, you said: “Martin O’Muileoir must be looking for a new job as DUP spinmaster since he closed down Daily Ireland”

    No no no – Marty’s plans are much greater than that. Ladies and gentlemen we present the aspirant next MP for West Belfast.

    Mairtin. Publisher, Peace Maker, Patriot.

  • Setanta

    Perhaps the DUP needs a ‘victory’ to satsify the vanity of it’s hierarchy or maybe just to hide the fact that they are well and truly selling a pup to their voters – Paisley’s rhetoric seems to be worth nothing as he is being manoeuvered into the type of deal he has often promised his voters that he would never countenance.

    This may suit Republicans, as they are playing a much longer game here than this particular agreement. Perhaps Máirtín Ó Muilleoir has been sent out to signal that the DUP can call the agreement a victory if they want – Nationalists and Republicans do not see this agreement as anything near a ‘final settlement’ and will just ignore the DUP celebrations anyway. Nationalists and Republicans will be looking for the next move.

    I think Unionism has been outplayed yet again – it desperately needs new thinking and new leadership.

  • John East Belfast

    carson’s cat

    “Moving on, even if I agreed with your analysis of the UUP doing all the ‘heavy lifting’ you seem to have ignored a few issues.”

    That really is where we diverge therefore there is little point talking around the edges

    As far as I am concerned Paddy Provo didnt wake up one morning and decide he was going to surrender to Ian Paisley.

    We simply wouldnt be where we are today if it had not been for the Agreement.

    The UUP was not interested in electoral success for the sake of it but has laid down its Party for the sake of the Union.

    Basically if the Union had any chance of survival we needed to draw the sting of militant Irish Republicanism and make NI a stable political and economic entity.

    We remain on course to achieve that. The DUP would never have got us here.

    Regarding the existance of the UUP I have always been of the view that a Unionist Party of any description meant we are failing in our ultimate objective of securing the Union.

    The UUP is only a movement and I watch the emergence of the Tories and hopefully Labour with interest.

    I only want success for the UUP over the DUP as ultimately I consider the UUP is best for the Union. However normal British politics means we have really arrived.

  • harpo

    ‘Martin O’Muileoir, speaking on yesterday’s Talkback, offered some advice on how the DUP could sell a deal with Sinn Fein. He advocated that the DUP should “make a good victorious speech”.’

    Sorry Martin.

    Maybe the drone Provisional ‘republican’ supporters are used to swallowing this sort of horseshit and actually believing it, but unionists aren’t.

    Unionists have more sense. They are not sold on the empty words of a leadership that takes them for granted and uses them – that’s how the Provos work. In the case of unionism, the leadership actually has to deliver on all the fine words.

    The best example of this is the fact that the DUP now holds 1st place within unionism. Trimble tried to sell a pig-in-a-poke, but unionist rank and file didn’t swallow it. They wanted to see results, not wordy promises. Thus they relegated Trimble to 2nd place.

    Martin may think that the DUP simply standing up and yelling ‘we won’ will convince unionists of something, but if it isn’t true, unionists won’t believe it. Just as they got fed up with what Trimble was saying.

    Long story short – unionists aren’t stupid like the Provo drones who still have faith in Adams and his promises that a united Ireland is just around the corner.

  • joeCanuck

    harpo

    I think you’re missing a key thing. I don’t think that most catholics were (or are) desperate for a united Ireland. They just wanted equal treatment. But maybe I’m wrong.

  • Setanta

    Harpo

    “Maybe the drone Provisional ‘republican’ supporters are used to swallowing this sort of horseshit and actually believing it, but unionists aren’t. ”

    Actually they are….Ordinary unionists have blindly trusted their leadership to lead for the last seventy years and this has led to the current situation where large swathes of the unionist population have opted out of politics or feel disenfranchised as their leadership is left with one option only – sharing power with Sin Féin.

    I dont think that the widespread poltical sophistication that you imply is actually there in the unionist community yet many unionists have known this for years and have tried repeatedly to do something about it.

  • Nationalist

    Most “Unionists” will find going into a United Ireland not that bad in the near future now that the British are stopping the blank cheque book to the North.

    In only a few years most laws will be the same on both sides of the border so taking that final step will not be the sea change that most would have expected some years ago, and with the ongoing roar of the Celtic tiger the North and the people therein will want to be part of it.

    Unionists are in the majority in the oldest age group, but the Nationalist youth with over 65% in the under 25year olds will win the day and as the man said our victory will be in the laughter of our children!

  • Fermanagh Young Unionist

    Unionists are in the majority in the oldest age group, but the Nationalist youth with over 65% in the under 25year olds will win the day and as the man said our victory will be in the laughter of our children!

    Of course there are more older Protestants, there are more Protestants over all!

    And this whole 65% Catholic youth is a load of bullshit. Dont mean to rain of your parade or anything, but;

    0-4 …… 115,235 people over all, 43% Catholic
    10-14 ….. 132,650 people over all, 47% Catholic
    20-24 ….. 109,393 people over all, 45% Catholic

    So by just taking a quick look at the above figures one could even suggest that the Catholic youth is declining!

  • Carson’s Cat

    JEB
    “The UUP was not interested in electoral success for the sake of it but has laid down its Party for the sake of the Union.”

    What complete and utter sanctimonious sh*te. The UUP signed the Belfast Agreement because it thought it was a good deal and therefore they thought they would get an electoral benefit from it. That is just plain common sense. They didnt do it as some kind of ‘greater love hath no party…. stunt’.

    The UUP could have got that electoral bounce had they negotiated a better deal or possibly even done a better job of selling what little they did get from it. Mind you, it really does sound like a UUP obituary every time I hear someone tell me that the UUP ‘laid itself down’ for the sake of the country – that does imply death you realise.

    Its the same reason why it makes sense for the DUP to negotiate a fair deal. They get an electoral bounce from it – like I said earlier, once “the beast has been slayed” the people aren’t going to forget who done the slaying.

    “Basically if the Union had any chance of survival we needed to draw the sting of militant Irish Republicanism and make NI a stable political and economic entity.”

    Yes, but of course the Belfast Agreement with its unaccountable Executive and unaccountable North-Southery actually opened up as many dangers as you claim it prevented. It seems of course that the UUP only wanted to take some of the sting out of republicanism though given that you weren’t too bothered that they hadn’t crossed the “finish line” as you put it earlier. You were quite happy to give them the medal when they were only half-way round the track. You might think you took the sting out of them but they had plenty left to be able to sting the UUP – on three occasions no less.

    “We remain on course to achieve that. The DUP would never have got us here.”

    Well it would seem that the DUP is getting there. Perhaps if you’d stuck with the DUP earlier then we might have got there more quickly.

    <i>”Regarding the existance of the UUP I have always been of the view that a Unionist Party of any description meant we are failing in our ultimate objective of securing the Union.”“The UUP is only a movement and I watch the emergence of the Tories and hopefully Labour with interest.”

    Bring them on…. However its as clear as day that you really only want those parties to increase because of your obvious distaste for the DUP. I dont believe that the role for unionist political parties is redundant yet – I would trust neither the Tories nor Labour at this stage with NI’s future.

  • lib2016

    Fermanagh Young Unionist,

    It would help if you could give us a clue where we could google for confirmation of your post. My understanding is that unionists know that they have lost the numbers game and that is why they have opted for a party of protest to represent them. I’m perfectly willing to learn that I’m wrong but would appreciate more information.

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    lib,

    Which particular numbers are you talking about? I was picking up as early as February 03 that tensions were cooling amongst Unionism because of the 01 census results: or perhaps more accurately because a lot of the spin set several nationalist commentators up for a nasty fall.

  • lib2016

    S O’T Admin,

    “Which particular numbers….”?

    Ah! You meant those hopelessly wrong assumptions about the numbers of Catholic students attending state schools. By 03 respected commentators like Finnuala O’ Connor were noting that half the rugby caps at schools like Methody had Catholic names and parents living in places like the Malone Road.

    Less affluent Catholic Yuppies live in places like Bangor and kept their backgrounds quiet but we have had estimates posted on here that Bangor High School, for example, has over 20% of it’s pupils coming from a nationalist background. What was the estimate in the Census? 5% was it not?

    On the other hand the Unionist young graduates are apparently still fleeing the North whether or not they are being educated abroad. Doesn’t take much you know, not when it happens year after year after year…….

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    Columbanus has over 30% non Catholic pupils. I’m just not sure I get your point.

  • lib2016

    “I’m just not sure I get your point.”

    Don’t worry – you will! 😉

  • darth rumsfeld

    “Less affluent Catholic Yuppies live in places like Bangor and kept their backgrounds quiet but we have had estimates posted on here that Bangor High School, for example, has over 20% of it’s pupils coming from a nationalist background. What was the estimate in the Census? 5% was it not?”

    Well there’s where you make your mistake lib. They don’t come from a nationalist background- since hospitals don’t ask how expectant mothers vote when they’re admitted to the maternity unit-they come from a Roman catholic background, and will no more consider voting Stoop or Shinner than for Bob.They are post-political, like their proddie neighbours.And they’re spreading throughout the province as disillusionment with the useless politicos that represent their tribe increases.

    Oh, and we’ve stopped worrying about being outbred for quite some time-we won the numbers game in 1920,even if it suited the Unionist aristocracy’s political ends to scaremonger out the prole vote in the past.

    “On the other hand the Unionist young graduates are apparently still fleeing the North whether or not they are being educated abroad. Doesn’t take much you know, not when it happens year after year after year…….”

    tsk tsk, another misunderstanding. Yes it’s embarassing that it’s only us thickie prods left, but until they bring in intelligence tests as a precondition for the franchise it looks like we’ll get away with it. Again it shouldn’t come as a surprise- after all our planter ancestors were the scum of Scotland and the borders and they did alright.

    And all those fey young Methody boys at Cambridge and Oxford may not come home after graduating but equally they do rather counteract the impressions given by some of our nationalist neighbours who say we’re knuckledragging KKK etc etc and drone on MOPEing . Poor old David Tennant couldn’t cope with the fact that his family were not only..ugh!..Orangemen but were also nice- cos he hadn’t met any nice Prod undergraduates at RADA

  • “Fermanagh Young Unionist,
    It would help if you could give us a clue where we could google for confirmation of your post”

    Certainly, it came of the analysis section of the Northern Ireland Census website, I would give you a link however there seems to be a problem with the site tonight.

    But you can trust me, the figures were accurate.

  • Gonzo

    One of the criticisms of the UUP’s attitude to the outcome of the Agreement was that they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory because they couldn’t recognise that they had essentially achieved their aim – guaranteed NI’s place in the UK until there was a democratic vote in favour of the opposite.

    If that had been achieved by the UUP (yes, according to the GFA), then of course the DUP will trumpet that they have achieved more.

    Because they have.

    From a nationalist perspective… was replacing Trimble with Paisley REALLY a smart strategic move?!

    Wouldn’t you have rather steamrollered a more pliant opposition?

  • lib2016

    Paisley and the DUP are not loyal to Britain and actively dislike what England has become. The DUP are an essential stage of any movement towards a UI.

    Unionists are not going to become active Irish republicans overnight but detaching them from the British is certainly a good step on the road.

  • Rory

    Given that the whole game-plan of the British departmental management team of the European sector of business, insofar as the “corner shop” is concerned, has been for 40 years now, “to sell the Proddies down the river with the minimum of fuss”, this fellow’s advice to the ultra-troglodyte leadership of the old Unionist camp is good advice. But really – it is advice that of necessity be made in private and most certainly not in public from the enemy camp.

    If O’Muileoir is, as another has suggested, a “spinmeister for republicanism, he lacks the required nous to be allowed to continue in that role and much too little gravitas to be considered for any leading political position.

  • circles

    Ach he’s not a spinmeister at all Rory. He’s just a fella from up the road who was a councillor for a while, works in the press and likes to open his mouth once in a while.
    We should rpobably run with the spinmeister thing though – makes the unionists think we’re dead organised.