DUP’s bagful of ‘yes’ concessions

DUP boss Ian Paisley is riding high after his Scottish victory. But the St Andrew’s Agreement paves the way for yet another realignment in Unionism. So argues JOHN COULTER, who analyses the new shift.By John Coulter

Ian Paisley’s blessing for the St Andrews Agreement has paved the way for the creation of a single Unionist Party. The DUP marched home from Scotland with a sequenced deal, including a massive peace dividend for the North as well as a capping on the hated rates, and saving the North’s elite grammar school sector.

The already election-battered C List Ulster Unionist team slipped back with nothing but a ticking off from the British Government about the UUP’s internet blog site.

In the space of a week, Paisley has turned a generation of yelling No and Never, into a bagful of Yes concessions for the Unionist family. In Unionist terms, DUP now stands for the Delivering Unionist Party, while UUP has taken on the mantel of the Utterly Useless Party.

In spite of all the speculation about factions within the Paisley camp, unease about Paisley’s meeting with Catholic Primate Sean Brady, and the prospect of the Big Man being nominated for First Minister on 24 November alongside Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness as Deputy, the DUP boss remains firmly in control of his party.

The UUP is trying to hit back at Paisley by claiming he has merely done what he accused former UUP boss David Trimble of doing ? preparing to enter a power-sharing Executive with republicans.

But in the Unionist community, the DUP is firmly entrenched on the moral high ground. Why? Because the Paisley camp recognised the alternative to the Stormont Assembly was joint authority of the North by London and Dublin ? try selling that to middle class unionism?

The real danger for the UUP comes next March when the Northern and Southern people could be asked in a referendum to endorse the St Andrews Agreement. The Paisley camp would love a Northern election only as it would finish off the Ulster Unionists once and for all.

The DUP would go into the election with the Scottish package of ‘political goodies’ as its big selling point. All the UUP can do is snipe at Paisleyism, and such is the internal discipline within the DUP there will never be a successful ‘Paisley Must Go’ campaign.

Perhaps the real victory for the DUP from Scotland was that Paisley has secured his legacy and power base within Unionism’s influential middle class.

Originally the champion of the Protestant working class, the DUP has demonstrated its ability in the November 2003 Assembly election and especially in the 2005 General Election that it can attract substantial support from the unionist middle class.

The DUP now has its own so-called Fur Coat Brigade, once the bastion of the ruling UUP. Ulster Unionist spin under current boss Reg Empey’s leadership was that these votes were on loan to the Paisley camp as a protest vote against former First Minister David Trimble.

But the Scottish deal ? and especially the concessions on rates and the grammar schools ? will ensure middle class unionism remains with the DUP.

If an election ? although unlikely ? was called in March 2007, at best the UUP could retain half of its current 24 seats; at worst, it could be reduced to between eight and 10 MLAs.

The only electoral hope the UUP has is to either grow the seeds which Paisley has sown and eventually merge with the DUP to form a single Unionist Party. Or else, it can try and re-group the centre ground by merging with the Alliance Party and revamped Northern Ireland Tories.

Another major bonus which Paisley can sell to the unionist electorate is that he can put the brakes on the axing of local councils. The present plan is for seven super councils, which would have a four-three nationalist bias.

However, a power-sharing Executive could implement either an 11 or 15 council structure ? less than the current 26 councils ? but which would keep the overall balance in the North in favour of unionism.

It also puts the Paisley camp in line to create a slimmer 72-seat Assembly rather than the cumbersome 108 MLA Stormont. This would leave four seats for each of the 18 constituencies. Given the DUP’s vote management abilities, this would still leave the party with 30 plus seats.

But Paisley also wants to secure his family legacy after he has either retired or died. While there has been much talk about factions within the DUP, the party is likely to remain intact as long as Paisley himself remains boss. Unlike Empey in the UUP, there will be no immediate – or any – leadership challenge to Paisley.

There are three factions in the DUP ? the modernisers around deputy leader Peter Robinson; the fundamentalists around South Antrim MP Rev William McCrea, and the traditional hard Right wing supporting MEP Jim Allister.
There has been considerable speculation North Belfast MP and MLA Nigel Dodds is Paisley?s personal choice as his successor.

Paisley Senior will also want to ensure his son, Ian Junior, is in a firm position to hold the party?s Westminster Jewel in the DUP Crown ? the North Antrim seat which the father has held comfortably with massive majorities since 1970.

The body language from Scotland was the political jig which Paisley wants to dance to is a deal which will keep his party united, yet finish off the rival UUP at the same time.

And on a personal front, Paisley will hope the success of re-establishing the power-sharing Executive on 27 March, 2007 will exorcise the 30-year-old ghosts of his failed coup in May 1977 when the United Unionist Action Council strike turned out to be a complete flop.

First published in the Irish Daily Star, on Thursday 19th October 2006

  • circles

    Doesn’t Mr Coulter do well papering over the cracks and annoyances that have emerged since Friday – managing even to keep any reference to Allister to an relevant half sentence towards the end.
    He may have taken it upon himself to herald the final victory of the DUP (as recommened by O’Muilleoir), but it reads more like he wrote the article as an immediate reaction to St Andrews on Friday evening and has ignored anything that may have happened since. The Delivering Unionist Party? I suppose that depends on what you ordered.
    Then again, I’d never have accused the Star of journalism anyway…….

  • circles

    … keep any reference to Allister to an IRrelevant half sentence..

    sorry – typing on battery, and the keyboard doesn’t like that.

  • slug

    Allistair’s scepticism is rather a useful weapon in his leadership campaign several years hence.

  • ooooo

    “the C-list talks team” – Ooooo isn’t he bitter about his da and his cronies not making the talks team!

  • interested

    “Allistair’s scepticism is rather a useful weapon in his leadership campaign several years hence.”

    Provided he hasn’t been horribly isolated by it. Do you think even sceptical DUP members/supporters will like him going to the papers? The DUP are very proud of their in-house ‘family’ approach to sorting out any difficulties. Going to the papers might be interpreted as “doing an Ulster Unionist”. The perverse outcome to that of course could actually be that those who shared some of Allister’s scepticism may be so horrified by the way he has raised them that it pushes them strongly towrads the positive ‘party’ view.

    As for the article – its either a further case of John Coulter covering every single possible outcome in the hope of being right. Its very amusing to read about the “C-Listers” of the UUP returning home – presumably that didnt include his father did it? Would they have struggled up to being B-Listers if Bob Coulter had been over?

    “Unlike Empey in the UUP, there will be no immediate – or any – leadership challenge to Paisley.”

    Is daddy Coulter thinking of challenging Empey?

  • Yokel

    There will never be a single monolithic mainstream unionist party. Whilst a new look DUP especially once Paisley Snr retires or dies will be attractive to some Ulster Unionists there will still be a 20%-25% rump at least that are unlikely to go DUP no matter what.

    A move with the Alliance? Now that would be interesting, given that Alliance is, fundamentally a unionist party (no matter what it says).

  • Buterknife

    Jim Allister comes across as a very hateful man. I saw him on TV when he won the MEP mandate and he and his supporters where saying and wearing very hateful things.
    As for John’s article i hope his opinion is just that, as a Trimble’s critique of a monolithic state will come true if DUP become the sole loyalist party.
    NB: The DUP puts faith before politics therefore it’s a loyalist party and not one which puts politics before faith vis-à-vis unionist.

  • Julian Robertson

    This article is a good read but nothing ever runs as smoothly as predicted.


    “he and his supporters where saying and wearing very hateful things. ”

    Unfortunately true elsewhere – seen it first hand on the ocasional election count platform. Not pretty.

  • Nevin

    [i]Because the Paisley camp recognised the alternative to the Stormont Assembly was joint authority of the North by London and Dublin – try selling that to middle class unionism?[/i]

    Funnily enough, this was recognised by Trimble some years ago.

  • BooBoo

    AS ever with Coulter, another series of reversals on opinions espoused in previous articles.

    By a process of elimination and sheer luck he is bound to be on the button at some stage.

    And how very fortunate that his father wasn’t included on the UUP team, for then John wouldn’t have been able to rubbish those who were there.

    Let’s hope the DUP divvy up by November 10 or else John will have to revise his thoughts all over again!


  • darth rumsfeld

    “he and his supporters where saying and wearing very hateful things.”

    eh? Are you Trinny and Susannah? I thought he was wearing a pinstripe suit. Of course there was a bit of gloating at yet another pisspoor UUP performance. So what? We don’t do statesmen in NI politics. Even the Blessed St John of Hume has been known to get a bit shirty.

    As for Dr Coulter (thank the Lord he’s not a medical doctor)-yet another bizarre piece. It may reflect the despair of the UUP that all its clothesd have been stolen. It may come from having too much orange squash in the Stormont canteen with the Robinson team of children running the DUP offices.It might even be his own prejudice. But it’s a far too optimistic view of the DUP’s banked gains, as against possible future gains. It overinflates Willie McCrea’s role – he’s a busted flush. The sceptic faction is coalescing behind Allister but don’t forget Robinson brought him back into politics, and they’re still close.

    BTW Isn’t it interesting how the DUP press office is letting Jeffrey make all the running with the St Andrew’s agreement on TV?It’s almost like he’s being set up -remember how Dermot Nesbitt was the UUP salesman for the Agreement in 1998 and how disastrous that played with the hardline vote? Well so do the Paisleys.

  • Buterknife

    Isn’t it strange that when the DUP where back seat drivers they kept attacking the drivers but now they are the drivers dupers like Arlene Foster MLA demand that the UUP support them. The enemy of the people are the drivers!

  • Unionist Mindset

    Coultr talks about the execuitve being able to reduce the amount of MLA seats and change the plan for the councils.

    I don’t understand where he gets this from, as I noticed nothing about this in the STAA.


  • BooBoo

    unionist mindset:

    Yep, it’s in Annex A paragraph 13.

    I’m not convinced the DUP are as strong here as they would have us believe. Changes to Super Council numbers and numbers of MLAs will need the nod from SF/SDLP, or at least 40% of them. Depending on what results are thrown up by the next election, the DUP may be very dependent upon SF to get anything done.


  • Greenflag

    Good analysis by Coulter . Paisley has always had the objective of a single Unionist party in NI with himself as leader . It’s a matter for Unionists which leader they choose and the fact of political life in Northern Ireland today is that Unionists have chosen Paisley as their leader .

    So how should Irish Nationalists and Irish Republicans react or deal with the Unionist choice ?

    One way might be to take some of the well known statements made by the potential First Cleric of Northern Ireland and dress them in ‘opposite ‘ clothes and then consider the question .

    Imagine a nationalist /republican Irish politician making the following remarks and then try to imagine such a person being elected as the ‘First Minister ‘ of Northern Ireland or even as Taoiseach of the Republic ?

    ‘Victory for our enemies would put us under the jackboot of protestant unionist tyranny . To submit to Stormont is worse than death . Better therefore to die fighting our enemies and battling for freedom than to live under a system which is in itself a living death ‘

    ‘But I am certainly anti Unionist politicians -and no doubt about that . I utterly detest them . Because all we’ve had in Northern Ireland since Stormont was established in 1920 is a bunch of liars . They won’t tell the truth and they’ve been proved lying over and over again ‘

    ‘I’ve no ambitions as an elected leader of the Irish Republic to talk to the Unionist leaders of Northern Ireland .We’re poles apart . There’s no such thing as reconciliation .

    Coulter’s article should awaken Irish nationalists and republicans to the reality of the Paisleyite ‘message’ .

    Our elected politicians should have nothing to do with him or his DUP. And we should stop being fooled by Paisley’s spinning .

    A cobra is still venomenous whether you call him Mr Cobra or Rev Cobra and the white washed crow soon shows black again .

    Leave Paisley to die in peace in political isolation with his NO message intact and his ‘delivery’ still undelivered . He deserves that much at least .

  • idunnomeself

    there’s so much nonsense in this article i don’t know where to start

    ‘super councils’ 4-3 Nationalist? does he not keep up? They’re 3-2 Unionist with two marginals and depending onteh boundary review (currently underway becasue work to bring these about will have been underway for a year in March) will probably end up 4-3 Unionist with decent sized minorities in all but one.

    Anyway anyone who decides how out bins should be emptied on the basis of whether the majority of bin-emptying is organised by old men called William or Seamus needs their head examined

    and this para:
    ‘But in the Unionist community, the DUP is firmly entrenched on the moral high ground. Why? Because the Paisley camp recognised the alternative to the Stormont Assembly was joint authority of the North by London and Dublin – try selling that to middle class unionism?’

    Makes no sense at all, it isn’t even a coherant sentence..

    And as for the rates.. if they cap the rates I’ll never vote for them.. why should I pay more so them that lives in big houses pay less? Exactly what proportion of ‘Unionists’ are going to pay more or less because of this??

  • Or else, it can try and re-group the centre ground by merging with the Alliance Party and revamped Northern Ireland Tories.

    Why would Alliance want to merge with a Unionist Party, let alone a failing one with an incompetent leader which spends its time jumping into bed with the UVF and trying to out-bigot the DUP?

    Can’t see it. It might be useful for the UUP but what’s in it for Alliance?

  • Yokel


    What ever happened to respecting mandates then eh?

    In that case lets never talk to Sinn Fein despite their electoral mandate, the SDLP because well, gonners, ditto, UUP….in fact lets not bother at all. Lets just shoot and bomb it out again but this time more bombs in ROI and more in England as well. I’m game, are you? I doubt you would be, you’d shit yer pants if it was on your doorstep.

  • Buterknife

    Yokal that makes sense for i can’t afford to buy a house bacause all the godfathers in SF and the DUP took advantage of the GFA while telling us not too.

  • Yokel

    Sammy Morse, I assume the though in Coulters thought on Alliance/UUP is born out of the possibility that the current UUP would split thus the uber liberals and softies go Alliance and the rest go DUP, rather than the UUP as it its currently populated.

    It wont happen of course but there is overlap amongst some of the UUP membership and support and Alliance. Anyway the UUp will survive because there are those in Unionism that wont touch the DUP with a barge pole..unless they lose the Paisleyite feel permanently.

    idunnomesyelf. It’s the rule of the rich pay proportionately less, its always been there since time immemorial. Unjust, you betcha but hey there ya go. Maybe the idea should be that people pay proportionately the same.

  • Yokel

    Well Butterknife thats the advantage of being on the inside I suppose. Sure didn’t even Hughie Smyth make a killing on betting on Tony Blair’s name for his youngest son during the days when the PUP were taken seriously?

  • Greenflag

    Yokel ‘

    ‘What ever happened to respecting mandates then eh? ‘

    I’m reminded of the naive young lady who believed her consort when he said that if she obliged in a horizontal manner he would still respect her in the morning.

    ‘in fact lets not bother at all. ‘

    Brilliant . Think of the savings in time , money , newsprint , trees , talks about no talks , Assemblies that don’t assemble and the 40 odd years of farting around by NI’s politicians .

    ‘Lets just shoot and bomb it out again but this time more bombs in ROI and more in England as well’

    Why would this be necessary ? Are you suggesting that because the DUP would be isolated that they would ‘attack’ the Irish Republic and England ?
    Or do you believe the IRA/UVF would ?

    ‘I’m game, are you? I doubt you would be, you’d shit yer pants if it was on your doorstep. ‘

    The response by people in ROI to any attempt to destabilise the Republic by any paramilitary group either loyalist or republican would be somewhat more abrasive than you might imagine .

    As for me I’ll just be called up as a reservist . And would do what I have to do to protect and maintain the Republic .

  • páid

    Darth Rumsfeld is a funny bastard.

  • Mark

    On the fringes of St Andrews….

    I see a cross community victims group including Loughinisland families have requested a meeting with Sammy Wilson (subs req) after he abused them at St Andrew’s. He and Jeffrey Donaldson refused their literature and then launched a ‘vitriolic’ attack. (they met with Willy Frazer and FAIR on the same day)

    Witnesses claim Mr Wilson not only refused to accept the documents but launched into a “tirade’’ against the group, accusing Paul McIlwaine – whose 18-year-old son David was stabbed to death by UVF members – of allying himself with “people who support murderers”.

    Moira Casement, whose 87-year-old uncle Barney Green was murdered by the UVF in the 1994 Loughinisland bar attack, said the East Antrim MP’s outburst was “vitriolic’’.

    “Mr Wilson launched into an abusive tirade and accused Mr McIlwaine of ‘choosing quare bedfellows’,’’ she said.

    “His comments are insulting. I personally have never had any part in politics and wish to stress emphatically that I have never been involved in republican or IRA activity, nor has any member of our justice group.

    Wilson stands by his remarks.

    When contacted yesterday, Mr Wilson who is also an assembly member for East Antrim, refused to comment but in earlier reports admitted making the remarks, adding that the group was clearly identified as “a pro-IRA group, pro-republican’’.

  • DUP NO more

    What did the DUP promise their voters? If the critiques are to believed and the UUP overtly broke the pledge of ‘no guns, no government’ then what are the DUP doing? After quoting O’Neil, Paisley has turned into a Lundy for he could have done something 30 years ago but didn’t. Was all this just for a power trip? Did he destroy the IRA – NO, did he destroy SF – NO. I have seen the light and yes i am bitter! He was their biggest asset. Either take me back to 1960s where i could have punched Paisley given myself a reality check and supported O’Neil’s approach thus saving lives or vote Tory, Greens, UUP … anything but DUP.
    At least Alister still believes that the rule of law should not be dumbed down!

  • tiny

    The image of Paisley that history will ‘remember’ be of a ‘cleric’ throwing snowballs at Leamas, a latter day ‘Roaring Rob Hanna’
    As for “the concessions on rates and the grammar schools”, the gov simply said that the Assembley can decide, given that the Assembley will have responsibility for these matters, it would have happened in any case!

  • Bushmills


    It was Roaring Hugh Hannah. Prick.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “DUP no more” does rather strike me as a Cunningplan House typing pool troll, albeit one who is right to have concerns. I’m certainly not impressed by Arlene Foster’s attempts to sell the deal on H&M last night. It sounded remarkably like the sort of waffle Dermot Nesbitt and the Gimp used to spout in 1999. The only plus point was that McNasty was her opponent and he couldn’t avoid rehashing UUP feuds past instead of concentrating on the issues.And the fact that she has now joined Donaldson as the public face of the YES camp in the DUP ( for soon we may well be talking in such terms)suggests that some traditionalists are setting them up for a fall. But that’s only in the case that the Doc is listening to sensible advice like Allister’s to treat St Andrew’s as no more than a temporary break from rolling negotiations , not some achievement per se.
    It is certainly correct to point to the improvements on the old Agreement. But it might serve St Andrew’s supporters better to think things through a little.Or perhaps a lot

    Why push so hard to get the Shinners on the police board? Read Mairtin O’Muilleor’s piece on what republicans in the police will mean in the Andytown news if you still think this is a brilliant idea. Why set perfectly attainable (so far as Adams and co are concerned) preconditions to be in government with them and waive through substantial concessions for republicans as a quid pro quo?

    Why pick the first fight post-negotiations on a symbolic issue- the oath of allegiance- instead of a concrete issue? Who cares what Martin McGuinness swears-remember the commitment to non-violence as a prerequisite to standing for election a few years ago? Has noone in the DUP realised that all the UUP did was fight pointless battles to preserve the symbols while the key issues of who held the power were ignored?
    Why boast that you’ve achieved an increase in my rates to provide a subsidy for non-DUP voting Alliance-disposed at best inhabitants of the Malone Road

    In fact having seen the row about Blair’s “writings” (?)- another obvious waste of breath-remember Blair’s Coleraine pledges reproduced on your big hoarding outside Glengall Street, Arlene?- it is beginning to look as if the thing that will save the DUP is that so much was given away on Trimble’s watch that Adams has run out of things to ask HMG for.

  • DUP NO more

    If a deal had of happened at the frist ‘crossrords’ what would there have been to give away?

  • John East Belfast

    darth rumsfeld

    “Has noone in the DUP realised that all the UUP did was fight pointless battles to preserve the symbols while the key issues of who held the power were ignored? ”

    That is a very interesting observation coming from you.

    What symbols in what situations are you talking about and did you hold this view while those battles were being conducted ?

  • Yokel

    Greenflag you cant play exclusionist politics because it suits your side which is exactly what you advocate.

    Secondly, I am very well aware that the Republic of Ireland is capable of actly harshly against those that threaten its structures, it did deploy internment without trial for example which didn’t raise a peep of complaint.

    Thirdly, since so many people go on about the rights of the minorities up North they should be aware of the democratic rights of the, majority up North and significant minority on the island of Ireland.

    A bit of consistency gets results.

  • tiny


    It was Roaring Hugh Hannah. Prick.

    Posted by Bushmills on Oct 20, 2006 @ 11:01 AM

    Just think in 100 years some ‘prick’ might type ‘like a latter day Alan Paisley’ gone and like Roaring Hugh, half forgotton

  • Bushmills

    Half forgotten? What like Ginger Dave, the sell-out merchant?

  • Carson’s Cat

    I think you’re jumping the gun a little in terms of DUP “yes and no” camps. The ‘writings’ issue is nothing like Trimble – there is no question of the DUP entering Government on the basis of the ‘writings’. They are simply commitments from HMG which must be incorporated in legislation prior to establishment (at least that’s what I heard Arlene Foster sad). Its a world away from Trimble jumping first and then looking round to see where everyone else had gone.

    What are these ‘substantial concessions’ to republicanism anyway? Its not an Irish Language Act (surely would be a devolved matter anyway) or ‘help to re-integrate ex-prisoners into society’ (that’s happening anyway and would we prefer the engaged in crime and terrorism). Its not civil service jobs being opend up (that’s an EU issue and aint gonna be stopped). The only concession I can see is the possible opening of Government to them once they’ve met the conditions – however if you dont support SF in Government under any circumstances then it wouldnt matter how good a deal the DUP struck – there would always be a reason to reject it on those grounds.

    However, I agree about not fighting symbolic issues – but how do you prove republican support for policing any other way? Also, far be it for me to suggest that Martin O’Muilleor my be likely to be continuing to prepare the ground for any SF support for the police.

    No-one is jumping up and down about things – but whatever Arlene Foster may or may not be, she’s no Dermot Nesbitt! Rightly arguing against the ridiculous claim that the SAA is the Belfast Agreement for slow learners obviously requires pointing out the plenty of positives which are in there. That can be seen as selling a done deal when there still are some things which need to be tied down in the coming weeks.

    There are a damn site more positives than negatives where we are now and the negatives aren’t things which cant be sorted out. The DUP aren’t going to look at the UUP and go out of their way to repeat the failures.

  • Carson’s Cat

    “(at least that’s what I heard Arlene Foster sad).”

    Of course sad = say….. maybe Freudian?

  • T.Ruth

    Like many Unionists I believed that the government should not have spoken to terrorists much less to consider admitting them to the Executive level of government as of right-but they did– in spite of the McCartney murder and the Northern bank robbery. That is the position we are faced with now.The decision for Unionists is simple. Do you prefer de facto Joint Authority directed by Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern or do you want to be governed by an Assembly with Dr.Paisley as First Minister and the majority Unionist community in a position of control over our own affairs.Would you trust Dr.Paisley and the DUP to deliver a sound future for your children or would you prefer to put your trust in Tony Blair who has betrayed his promises to us time and time again?
    The Ulster Scots Agreement which will develop from the St.Andrews proposals will represent a great victory for Unionism,for Democracy and the Rule of Law and those who so skilfully negotiated on our behalf deserve our congratulations. An end to terror from the IRA;SF supporting the PSNI and thus acknowledging the legitimacy of Northern Ireland;an end to Sinn Fein’s’links with the criminal faction of its support base;-Ministers accountable to the Assembly;-N/S bodies under the supervision and control of the Assembly;=control of the RPA-Education-Rates-Water Charges on top of an extensive raft of confidence building measures for Unionist communities and Culture. Not a bad deal and certainly better by a million miles than Trimble ever dreamed of. The Future of Unionism will best be served by a united Unionist presence at Stormont under the leadership of the DUP.
    We should be careful not to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.It is time for all DUP supporters to unite behind the leadership.Those who put self promotion before party solidarity will not help our cause.

  • John East Belfast


    I agree with a lot of what you say except specifically

    “certainly better by a million miles than Trimble ever dreamed of”

    You cant be serious – the difference can be measured in inches.

    The main difference is that Paisley did not have to make the main down payment as that burden had alreday been shouldered by Trimble.

    If Trimble hadnt paid that cost then none of the other positive things you have said above would be the reality they are now

  • tiny

    From a ‘unionist point of view is Sinn Fein’s endorsement of policing the achievment the DUP appear to think it is, as they keep saying, Trimble never even attempted it, but maybe he did’nt want the Shinners helping to run the PSNI, in fact is the Shinners having a major say in policing an achievment by the DUP, or a concession to Sinn Fein, remember the fuss about a certain Minister of Education?

  • Observer


    that’s an interesting perspective on it.

    Certainly if Trimble had returned from St. Andrews with this agreement it’s not impossible to imagine Paisley saying something like “Republicans on the policing board?!” and waxing bombastic about the whole thing.

  • http://www.sbpost.ie/post/pages/p/story.aspx-qqqt=TOM+MCGURK-qqqs=commentandanalysis-qqqid=18256-qqqx=1.asp

    Tom McGurk thinks Paisley lost, that he has destroyed Unionism and that the Free States and Brits will now walk on the walls, throwing pennies to the Orange marchers down below.

  • True Blue

    To “DUP NO more”. Not sure whether you were ever a DUP suporter me thinks you protest too much…… If you were and I stand to be convinced please wait until you see what you are being asked to vote for at an election before you judge what the DUP have or not achieved. The DUP have said that the St Andrew’s Agreement is ongoing business and still to be finalised, much work is still to be done and it was the basis for further work. Please wait until you get the full facts instead of listening to the UUP propaganda who really do not know what the DUP achieved.

  • Paul P

    Don’t think that DUP NO more is “listening” to UUP propaganda as they probably are ones that make the stuff up.

  • darth rumsfeld

    John EB
    As it happens the symbolic issues were the only things Trimble got worked up on. I remember well the effort put in to saving the RUC name was much greater than that to nobble Patten as a whole (feeding him to death in some expensive Chinese restaurant ijn London with Ken Maginnis was the apparent strategy as i recall)

    Yes this is better than GFA. But not by enough. I have yet to be convinced that there is any merit in having SF on the policing board, or the IRA vigilantes in PSNI uniform. So why make it easier for that to come about?

    BTW bushmills- pedantry won’t allow me to hold back- when you correct someone about the spelling of a name, get it right. He was Hugh Hanna, not Hannah.

  • Carson’s Cat

    darth“I have yet to be convinced that there is any merit in having SF on the policing board, or the IRA vigilantes in PSNI uniform. So why make it easier for that to come about?”

    I can see where you’re coming from on that one, but there has to be some test of SF bona fides on policing. How else do you assess it? Its either that or just leave them as it is giving no support to the legitimate forces of law and order in NI.

    If you believe that SF can be in government in the right circumstances (as opposed to those who do seem just to want to reject that notion no-matter how good a deal may be) then how do you measure some real support for the police?

  • darth rumsfeld

    “If you believe that SF can be in government in the right circumstances (as opposed to those who do seem just to want to reject that notion no-matter how good a deal may be) then how do you measure some real support for the police?”

    I don’t believe in SF in Government. I have become firmer in that view with every year of our experience of their politics and politicians. I accept that they probably will be put in government, but for me the right circumstances will be after Hell has frozen over. I want to make it as hard as possible for them to get in, and harder to stay in.If they get in, for the duration I want them trussed up as much as possible for the hopefully brief interlude before we can get a proper administration . In so far as the DUP are still deploying the tactics to achieve those strategic aims I’m a supporter, and I recognise the progress made, and the difference from the gentlemen amateurs of the UUP.

    I did run into a very prominent DUP member last week who assured me that there was no feeling that this was a finished deal, or that devolution was the goal , at any price. He knows powersharing cannot work for anything other than a very short time. I’m prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt, but I remain sceptical that there aren’t too many who have bought into the process. I mean, even Trimble tried to maintain the fiction that Strand 1 was no business of the Irish Government, and now noone utters a cheep when we clearly have joint authority ,at least in so far as discussing the internal constitutional arrangements of NI are concerned.

  • barnshee

    The UUP will shortly be no more.

    The rise of SF and the DUP is a wlcome move in the direction of total separation of the tribes in N Ireland. The sooner the better