DUP preparing for seismic shift- Feeney

In his most optimistic piece to date, Brian Feeney traces the not too subtle evidence in the public domain that the DUP might be inching towards a position of entering government with Sinn Fein: the conducting of ‘internal party consultations,’ demands by Paisley for a post-deal election and, of course, supping with a certain associate of the Anti-Christ.
He concludes by observing that those best positioned to benefit from a Paisley volte face over compromising with Sinn Fein are the potential future successors to Ian Paisley within the DUP, who would doubtlessly struggle to deliver a historic compromise in a post-Paisley scenario.

  • slug

    I am rather amazed by Ian Paisley. He is, after all, in his 81st year, and he has been off giving speeches in Manchester and Bournemouth. Do you know many 81 year olds who could keep up his daily routine? I suspect that he could well be in charge for another good while yet.

  • Do you know many 81 year olds who could keep up his daily routine?

    Tony Benn

    He had 24 public meetings this month

    He spoke the other night at the Haldane AGM in London along with Michael Mansfield.

    Paisley or Tony Benn?

    I know who I would rather listen too

  • slug

    Good point Chris. Benn is impressive too, in terms of activity level at an old age. In fact a year older than Paisley.

  • Patrique

    I told everyone in 1995 that Sinn Fein/DUP would end up sharing power. The whole thing was carefully planned, it was the only obvious solution, thereby marginalising “armed struggle” adherents of both sides. The process has been enjoyable, although a bit “soap” in the tactic of always bringing us to the brink of collapse before the day was saved at the last minute, and some of the acting has been bad, although David Trimble his role admirably.

    However even I did not think it would take so long to prepare some of the opposition for the inevitable. Obviously neither did the planners, because Big Ian was told he was out, but had to be brought in again, as Robinson couldn’t pull it off, and would have been called a lundy. Sinn Fein had already prepared their side,but the unionists had not. The only person who could swing it on that side was Big Ian. The only ones calling him a Lundy will be some of the Loyalist paramilitaries, who are only now realising they have been used and abused, much as the Protestant working class has been used and abused from 1921.

    But credit where credit is due. Isn’t it great that the final piece of the jigsaw is Big Ian telling his flock that Sinn Fein/IRA have succumbed to DUP pressure and the war is over, to reassure them, when everyone else, including Big Ian, knew that from 1994.

  • londonderry_loyal

    The ‘Big Man’ will still be about when Mr Blair is long gone.

    I believe the DUP will do a deal with SF before November 24th if SF move on the policing issue.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Does anyone ever wonder why Hain was pushing all his unpopular policies? Was it in fact at the behest of the DUP to give them cover instead of putting pressure on them?

    If you can upset the DUP electorate enough over rates, education, planning etc., then they would exert pressure on their politicians to do a deal.

    So when the DUP do a deal the DUP electorate will be so relieved to see Hain out of power and all the things that are upsetting them back in local hands they will accept power sharing with SF and a necessary evil.

    I forecast:

    1)a deal.
    2)support from the majority of DUP electorate for it.
    3)the unpopular policies will be amended very quickly.

    All portrayed as a massive coup for the DUP and how they humbled SF and got rid of the Hain policies. All complete nonsense but brilliant if you can get away with it.

  • alpho

    To Slug

    Are yu aware that the age discrimination law came into existance at the beginning of October. It is now an offence to call anyone old or young.

  • sapi

    What’s the odds that there will be a photo call on the steps of Stormont on the 25th November 2006 with the DUP & Sinn Fein. They won’t be hugging, kissing, shaking hands or jumping about, but it will be the start of a new beginning.

    For all the doubting Thomas’s just wait and see.

  • glassbottle

    Go for it Dr Paisley I just want to hear Martin Mcguiness say ‘well done Ian that was a
    hughely significant, seismic, historic, courageous, momentous and unprecedented step you took’

  • Dualta

    And it remains to be seen which one, the DUP or SF, has been sold a pup by the British govt. Certainly, one of them has.

  • Donnacha

    Or it could be that the British Govt finds itslef babysitting a couple of pups, while the DUP and SF stroll off arm-in-arm to the pub for a celebratory pint…

  • William Joyce

    If Fristrated Democrat is right, it just proves the old maxim that the Huns are more loyal to the half crown than to the Crown

  • Conor Mac Giolla Easpuig

    “And it remains to be seen which one, the DUP or SF, has been sold a pup by the British govt. Certainly, one of them has.”

    well surely its the UUP that bought themselves a PUP?….

    sigh…i’ll get me coat

  • Crataegus

    Let me see how does it go have to get the old boy to do the mucking out because he is unlike to be about for much longer and because none of the ‘younger lads’ want to have the smell of bull on their hands.

    In which case we can look forward to government by mice, political pygmies, with few statesmen of stature unfortunately. They really are a dismal bunch.

    Of course all this assumes that, ‘Barkus is willing’.

  • pith

    “Do you know many 81 year olds who could keep up his daily routine?”

    Sitting around on your londonderriere yelping “No” now and again for the first 80 years probably helps.

  • spice girl

    bloody hell, we’re all getting very excited here!! optimism on slugger, i’ve seen it all!! no doubt a deal can be done, but November may be too soon for the DUP, they may just want to chance to 2007 and see what else they can bargain for. Hard to say, if they get policing and a couple of changes to the GFA they may claim victory and rock on, otherwise they’ll not be afraid to hold out a while longer. I would imagine most DUP voters are not particuarly concerned with a rapid return to the assembly – I for one would prefer to wait until we had a stable viable asssembly that was going to last, rather than some ramshackle thing where people walk out after 6 months – no good to anyone. So pressure probably won;t come from their grassroots, but they’ll be under the spotlight from the media, other partys, 2 governments etc etc. dhould be interesting – how long do the talks last – a week?

  • willis

    It is only fair that the “Old boy” does the mucking out. Northern Ireland would be a happier place with a lot less dead if Ian Paisley had behaved differently in the sixties.

    If he has belatedly discovered the essential humanity of his fellow countrymen – great.

  • Crataegus


    I don’t disagree but what exactly does this say about unionist leadership now and those that are likely to lead?

    Spice Girl

    we’re all getting very excited here!!

    SF need an agreement ahead of next years southern election and DUP types think another election and they will inflict the fatal blow to the UUP. So they are both able to suspend disbelief.

  • willis


    I am not nearly as pessimistic as you about the current crop. Robinson and Dodds are both well rounded politicians, equally at home in “the fuss at the bus” as in proper negotiations. Campbell is a very useful bellweather.

    I may deprecate much that Paisley did as a demagogue, but as a leader of a political party he sees to have done a good job.

    UUP and ex-UUP Don’t ask! The party needs to cease, the structure is a nightmare. They should elect Laird Laird leader and only communicate in Ulster-Scots.

  • fair_deal

    Glad to see some movement on thinking by Feeney and some of our nationalist commentators

  • Why anyone pays head to what this Mopeish arrogant b1goeted cretin has to say is beyond me!!

  • Rory

    Such cogent, self-critical analysis from David Vance is most unexpected but welcome nevertheless.

    Well done, David. Not exactly Rosseau or Augustine but a small beginning.

  • flyonthewall

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again THERE WILL BE NO DEAL TO RESTORE DEVOLUTION BEFORE NOVEMBER 24.

    The DUP have told their foot soldiers this (Councillors) and will not risk a split in their ranks and more importantly in their newly found electorate. Why would they? Electorally they have never been in such a strong position before, 9 MPS etc…

    Their party structures will be hurt much less by an Assembly closure than their rivals. Symbolic gestures may indicate a preparing of the way for a deal with SF, but this is in the medium term, definitely not before the end of November. This is true even if SF endorse the PSNI tomorrow.

  • baldrick45

    Any chance the positive statements are a DUP bluff to allow them to claim the moral middle ground (moral high ground having been absent from NI politics for many years now) while desperately hoping SF can’t yet commit to support for policing?

    If so I hope the Shinners call any bluff at St Andrews. I mean, is it inconceivable that in private discussions they simply bypass any game of “You jump first, No YOU jump first” by offering that Hain & Ahern emerge and say “We have secured a deal which will lead to the restoration of an Executive AND support from SF for policing”. (Gosh we’ll move together – I’ve never thought of that before…)

    Everyone wins, no-one loses….. Unless of course it is a DUP bluff in which case they would fully deserve the sphincter loosening “WTF do we do now?” moment which would follow.

    Here’s to an end to the BS and a return to accountable Government!

  • scary_eire

    I know what spice girl is talking about when she says she doesnt want a ramshackle assembly – but i think this is still the opportunity to give stability and break down the community barriers that are getting bigger under direct rule.

  • GrassyNoel

    You’re all definitely getting carried away with this optimism buzz.

    What about Donaldson’s remarks the other day dismissing the IMC’s report because according to him, the IRA’s ‘control structure’ was still in place (whatever the f*ck that means, perhaps that certain people who were ‘known’ to have been in the IRA were still alive when unionists would prefer they weren’t)?

    Don’t yuy worry yer wee heads thurr noyyy…Big Ian & the DUPers have prepared for ANY eventuality, even SF accepting the PSNI. There’ll be no assembly.

    Now go back to sleep, it’s just a good dream.

  • ernie

    no deal until next year

  • pith

    …and in his second most optimistic piece to date, our jolly columnist will tell us how full-scale nuclear war will prove that the Earth is a failed planetary entity but at least there will be no prot.. protes… unionists left.