My qualified no: the explanation Part 4

On a thread about the DUP St. Andrew’s consultation I mentioned I had submitted a qualified No and was asked why. Here is the fourth of six parts of an article explaining why. What are my problems with the St Andrews deal? (continued)

Confidence building and equality

Second, the specific proposal for Irish and lack of reciprocal proposals highlights the broader failure to deliver on the “confidence building measures and equality agenda for the Unionist community”. From the community and political grapevine it is clear that a series of pet republican projects or demands are being delivered upon e.g. cutting funds from other festivals to boost spending on three nationalist Belfast festivals, public advertising in the ATN, the Gaeltacht Quarter and the redevelopment of Conway Mill (with public money and a senior civil servant reassigned to ensure delivery) but apart from the Victim’s Commissioner it is virtually a blank page for the DUP. In a sad attempt to take the bad look off this the NIO has told DCAL to pull the Ulster-Scots Academy out of the hat AGAIN.

Similarly, the extra powers to the NIHRC and Equality Commission would cause me little concern if it weren’t for the fact I have to play spot the Unionist with their Commissioners or in the EC‘s case look at an organisation with a growing under-representation of Protestant employees. This under-representation at a board level has occurred twice and the EC’s staffing issue remains unaddressed.

Martin O’Muilleoir recently claimed that there was no need to be concerned about whether the deal would fly as “Unionism can be bought off”. The evidence so far is the NIO aren’t even bothering to try.

But what about policing?

While I take note of what an agreement requires others to do it is not the defining issue for me. The argument that “It’s causing the Shinners problems you know” or “We made them do something they didn’t like” leaves me cold. I want an agreement to be sold to me on how it addresses the interests of Unionism not to be told to take some sort of sectarian comfort from republican unease. Also the “Take this issue to symbolise something else” will get little but a derisory laugh from myself.

As regards rates academic selection etc though positive they were largely manufactured concessions.

(I will be unable to respond to comments because I have important domestic matters to attend on Thursday followed by a romantic week-end. I will reply as best I can upon my return. The remaining pieces are timed to appear at 9.00am and 2.00 pm each day.)

  • Ian

    ‘“Unionism can be bought off”. The evidence so far is the NIO aren’t even bothering to try.’

    What was all the funding of ‘conflict transformation initiative’ for loyalist areas, £100000 grant to the Orange Order to develop the 12th as a tourist event, etc all about then?

    Apart from a disgrasceful appeasement by the NIO following the Whiterock riots less than a year beforehand.

  • Ian

    (Apologies for my DISGRACEFUL spelling in my previous post.)

    “redevelopment of Conway Mill (with public money and a senior civil servant reassigned to ensure delivery)”

    There’s also the ‘Renewing Communities’ task force with accompanying £33m of taxpayer’s money allocated exclusively for loyalist communities, which was headed up by the most senior civil servant of all…

    … who has been in the news recently for other reasons, what was it now?

  • mark

    I won’t even bother to formulate responses to the earlier sections. This whole thing is based on rejecting anything that Catholics or Irish benefit from.

    Shame on you. (it started so well too but it turned out to be based on rejecting anything that benefits ‘them’)

  • BP1078

    “I won’t even bother to formulate responses to the earlier sections. This whole thing is based on rejecting anything that Catholics or Irish benefit from. “
    FD is looking at things for a Unionist POV. SF will be delivering their opinion based on Unionist sensitivities?
    I voted “Yes” all those years ago because I believed the war was ended and we were on the verge of a new beginning in NI. The war has ended, but we’re still fighting the old battles politically and you party is as much to blame for that as the DUP.

    Before you start having a go at FD, point me in the direction of any Shinner lateral thinking, any time that The Party has genuinely dared to tip-toe beyond the sectarian and communal boundaries in the few years?

  • dub

    bp1078,

    a small and off the top of my head list when sinn fein have tip toed beyond sectarian and communal boundaries:

    1. participating in first world war commemorations in belfast and dublin (alex maskey and kilmainham)

    2. engaging with orange order and other loyal orders with successful outcomes in derry and other places… going so far so to police and physically restrain people in ardoyne… this required genuine courage.

    3. acceptance of parity of esteemn for british terrorists and their own volunteers… on this issue they were comprehensively out greened by sdlp and as a consequence lost.

    4. acceptance of d’hondt principles in local govt which gives dup et al disproportionate influence in 75 percent and over nationlist local govt areas

    5. acceptance of consent principle as it applies to what they see as gerrymandered state of ni and consequent de facto recognition of ni itself

    6. preparing the ground for acceptance of psni

    7. recognition constantly reiterated of british identity of those in ni who profess this

    8. willingness to see unionists and loyalists as human beings with consequent willingness to shake hands, engage in normal conversation etc

    9. recent initiative with pup in derry

    all these steps required vision and very definite moving beyond community boundaries.. u might reflect upon fact that republicanism has always seen irish protestants as integral part of irish nation… sinn fein have gone beyond this and begun to accept irish protestants in ulster AS THEY ARE and SAY THEY ARE…this was and is a very large step…

    unionism ni style has never seen northern catholics as part of the “people of nothern ireland” (viz john taylor: “it would be an insult to the people of northern ireland to describe them as irish) in the first place.. this is changing.. however as their mutual starting points in the north are so radically different unionists have a lot further to go..

    regards,

    dub

  • Bemused

    Excelent post dub. The movement and progress managed by the Shinners really needs to be pointed out every once in a while. It really annoys me when journalists keep blathering on about how the two biggest parties “still won’t even talk to one another”. Balls. The Shinners have been willing to talk to the DUP for years. The DUP, with the moral certainty and arrogance of the medieval anti-intellectual bigot, simply won’t engage. As for Fair Deal – jesus – SIX separate posts to say what – Croppies lie down?

  • Chris Donnelly

    Dub

    That truly was an excellent post.

    FD
    This series of articles (unprecedented here in its stacatto-style deliver- you’d make a good press officer…..) is revealing in the sense that it reveals a depressing lack of generosity on behalf of unionism, if the thoughts of a clearly intelligent and articulate spokesperson (FD) are anything to go by.

    So far we’ve been treated to a whinge about the Irish language and redevelopment in nationalist areas of Belfast with no mention of the millions being pumped into exclusively protestant/ unionist/ loyalist areas through the British governments shameful targeting of such areas in a blatant effort to buy off the UDA/ UVF and provide succour to those sharing FD’s narrow mentality.

    FD makes no mention of the packing of the Parades Commission with Loyal Order members/ sympathisers and skirts passed the appointment of the Victim’s Commissioner. Meanwhile, he alleges that the Equality Commission is packed with nationalists- evidence please? And what of the money being pumped into the Orange Order- not count or not consistent with the complaints?

    The reference to advertising in the Andersonstown News Group is quite pathetic- to even suggest this one would make it into the negotiations betrays a political naivete born out of Orange Hall gossip mongering.

    When you strip away the complaints of FD- and I write this after reading the full soap opera- the sum total amounts to an educated person’s way of saying ‘No surrender,’ complete with the petty begrudgery of the unsophisticated loyalists in those broadcast vox pops who allege ‘the fenians are gettin’ everything.’

    I hate to say it, FD, but clearly you’re streets behind even your party leadership on this one.

    Expect more concessions to Sinn Fein (as indeed we anticipate for your party) and a helluva rough ride in the new partnership government, where mutual vetoes will lead to your party leadership abandoning its no talk stance with republicans in the interests of good governance.

    Your complaints are an indication of the problems caused when a party leadership makes no effort to condition its faithful to the necessary pains of political compromise.

    A ‘Fair Deal’ for unionists was never going to be significantly different from the Good Friday Agreement because any ‘deal’ would require the assent of nationalists alongside the DUP. It certainly wasn’t going to involve a one-way ticket of political concessions and side deals for unionists- you’re incredibly naive if you believed so.

    I fear the DUP may have a long slog ahead of it if it’s to carry the backwoodsmen into the new future.

    Trimble must be laughing his head off!

  • While I take note of what an agreement requires others to do it is not the defining issue for me. The argument that “It’s causing the Shinners problems you know” or “We made them do something they didn’t like” leaves me cold. I want an agreement to be sold to me on how it addresses the interests of Unionism not to be told to take some sort of sectarian comfort from republican unease.

    Interesting comment FD. Would you say it’s generally the view within unionism that SF endorsement of the PSNI is irrelevant in and of itself – other than as a stick to beat us with?

  • darth rumsfeld

    “£100000 grant to the Orange Order to develop the 12th as a tourist event, etc all about then? ”

    er, about half what the present Maharajah of Stormont spends on sunbeds. The paucity of the bribes should of itself condemn the limited aspirations of the DUP at St Andrews and subsequently

  • darth rumsfeld

    Hmmm let’s look at that generosity of spirit again in the cold light of reality

    “1. participating in first world war commemorations in belfast and dublin (alex maskey and kilmainham)” is only playing catch up with FF’s “Let’s find the least painful way of pretending we love the jaffas, well bugger me it’s there in our own history all the time” scheme

    “2. engaging with orange order and other loyal orders with successful outcomes in derry and other places… going so far so to police and physically restrain people in ardoyne… this required genuine courage.”
    ah yes, engaging with the loyal orders, meaning when it suits have a riot, now it doesn’t wind in the lumpen footsoldiers, and next year…???I’ve been engaged with by numerous shinners over the years, usually with bricks thrown at me (presumably the messages of love and respect attached to them fell off when thrown)

    “3. acceptance of parity of esteemn for british terrorists and their own volunteers… on this issue they were comprehensively out greened by sdlp and as a consequence lost.”
    LOL. Ooops ya let the old mask slip there dub too much of the familiar old sectarian tosh, and…you’ve blown the game! off to Dickie Maculey’s re education camp for slow media manipulators

    “4. acceptance of d’hondt principles in local govt which gives dup et al disproportionate influence in 75 percent and over nationlist local govt areas”
    Yup. you’re right. Let not it be said that the Shinners ever opposed majority rule. Psst! better tell the boys in Lisburn, Ballymena, etc etc not forgetting …er Stormont. Worse than infantile point.

    “5. acceptance of consent principle as it applies to what they see as gerrymandered state of ni and consequent de facto recognition of ni itself”
    Aye right. Where did Gerry say that again? Not too noisy about the gerrymandering of the 7 supercouncils is he?

    “6. preparing the ground for acceptance of psni”
    better tell the South Derry “brigade” and about 40 percent of supporters still “off message”

    “7. recognition constantly reiterated of british identity of those in ni who profess this”

    Gee, thanks ever so. Next up, Sinn Fein accept the right of women to bear children. Welcome to reality mate. Tyr not to be condescending when you get here.

    “8. willingness to see unionists and loyalists as human beings with consequent willingness to shake hands, engage in normal conversation etc”

    Well to be fair the IRA have always seen us as human beings. That’s why they shot us, bombed us, and killed us in a hundred different ways. os that’s how fascists get rid of human beings who don’t fit their theories.

    9.” recent initiative with pup in derry ”
    What? Did you buy a stray wee doggie a bone? I mean, you’d cliam it a major breakthrough in cross community intitiative if the odious Martina Anderson went up the Shankill and bought a carryout in the local Wine Barrell. You’d claim a triumph if you talked to someone whos’ granny was a prod by marriage. The poverty of genuine connection or engagement is so clearly shown by this ridiculous claim. Even though I hold no brief for the DUP, their position is the minimum that you have to reach out to.

  • BP1078

    Dub
    Widen your political education, come up *North* meet some unionists and hear about the reality about the Sinner “engagement”.

    Or, ignore me, I’m a bigot, listen to someone a bit more enlightened (shit, he’s even allowed to write in *Irish* press

    http://209.85.129.104/search?q=cache:7p-9jR22aM0J:www.phoblacht.net/JC27080611g.html+Martina+Anderson&hl=en&gl=uk&ct=clnk&cd=6

    “9. recent initiative with pup in derry”
    You don’t really get it do you?
    Green fascists negotiate with Orange fascists.
    Big deal.

  • fair_deal

    “What was all the funding of ‘conflict transformation initiative’ for loyalist areas, £100000 grant to the Orange Order to develop the 12th as a tourist event, etc all about then?”

    1. I said inistiatives which inspire confidence the first tends to raise more concerns than confidence.
    2. As regards the OO that was promised a couple of years ago then they dragged their feet for 18 months.

    Renewing communities is more hype than substance and a number of its measures are to the benefit of both communities.

    CD

    “Your complaints are an indication of the problems caused when a party leadership makes no effort to condition its faithful to the necessary pains of political compromise.”

    The number of DUP voters wholeheartedly opposed to power-sharing 22%. The number of Sinn Fein voters wholeheartedly opposed to supporting the police 18%. Don’t think you are in much of a position to preach on that.

  • dub

    dr and bp1078,

    i responded to a question in relation to when sinn fein had gone beyond community and sectarian barriers..

    dr, you seem to just want to ridicule… of course you may say to various points, well they should have done that ages ago etc etc but the point is we are looking at people moving beyond their stated positions and ideological beliefs…

    I personally believe that sf have done remarkable things…

    analagous to sf’s moves I was stunned by glen barr and the rbl in derry last year flying a tricolour next to union jack at a memorial service and inviting up southern relatives…

    stunned and moved by unionist councillor who returned hunger strikers’ images which had been stolen to be burned on a bonfire..

    impressed by dup’s clear desire to break with monetary union with gb…

    to ask for examples of steps taken and then to ridicule them for not being enough is disingenuos and ceding to victimology…

    i have been north and have spoken with a wide variety of people…

    i think it is very important that the republican movement should reflect and seek to show humility for the terrible suffering they inflicted…

    there is a tremendous sense of victimhood on both sides in the north and understandably so.. it is imperative that both sides and the british state acknowledge the terrible pain suffering and anguish they have caused…….

    one sided victimhood is ultimately dishonest and emotionally paralysing…

    best regards,

    dub

  • Truth and Justice

    THe UUP back the St Andrews Agreement and are playing games.