My qualified no: the explanation Part 6

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 final part of an article explaining why.Conclusion

The omission of key issues, ignoring lessons from the era of UUP hegemony, cultural issues, poor results on confidence building measures all represent political landmines for the DUP. They could get lucky but it is likely at least one will go off. (My gues is it will be the Irish Language Act and OTRs that are the most likely to blow up in the DUP‘s face)

When I mentioned to a DUP MLA I had voted No we had a discussion about the reasons why. He mentioned how much of the debate was between those who saw the glass half full and half empty. For me the glass is 40% full. It isn’t a bad deal it simply is not a good enough one.

What do I need to shift me? I do not demand a full glass, half full would be acceptable. On constitutive v instrumental I am willing to accept that I am an insignificant voice on that issue. The biggest issues are clarity on the IRA or an effective mechanism equalled by a sensible Irish Language Act. I will read the parades review terms and watch appointments to it with interest. As regards the confidence and equality issues, there is nothing especially difficult for the government to address, if it is made to bother itself or anything nationalists to get wound up about. Signs of progress on most of these, not necessarily all, would get me to move.

In March 2007 I will still vote for the DUP and donate money to the campaigns of some of its candidates. It remains Unionism’s best option despite my concerns. The UUP has adopted a nonsense position on St Andrews “It’s just like the Belfast Agreement we negotiated for you and it’s a terrible deal”, huh? A new political force cannot be created out of Bob McCartney allying with the likes of Jack McKee. Bob will do what he has done since his political return, provide impressive critiques but offer no answers.

As it stands I will go to the polling booth, not with a sense of hope as I did in the past, but with a sense of disappointment and some nagging doubts. I also get the sense from other UUP voters who shifted to the DUP I will not be the only one in such a mood. I hope by then the DUP will have restored some of my and others depleted faith.

(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.)

  • Dexter

    Some people really have too much time on their hands. Maybe you should try to enjoy more romantic breakaways instead of blooging so much that they come in these epic contributions. Im sure your partner would agree. On second thoughts, I hope you dont bore her with such ramblings during your trips away. Go on, live a little.

  • joeCanuck

    Unfair comment Dexter.
    My understanding is that Fair Deal prepared these before he went away and postdated their release.
    He was asked for his reasons for his qualified “No” and he promised to give them I think it was a good idea to stagger his thoughts otherwise nobody would have read to the end.
    I disagree with him but to make a remark such as yours is playing the man.
    I do hope Fair Deal and his partner are having a wonderful time.

  • Interesting stuff, and one has to applaud his openess. But really, are his criticisms so great as to be worth voting no? Perhaps in future contributions he will detail them in a little more depth – otherwise they seem like rather minor tactical differences rather than issues of principle.

  • marty

    Dexter,
    Go on, live a little.
    As my old Granny used to say, if you don’t like it fuck off :O)

    If it’s such a drag why bother to read, and then whinge, about fair deals opinions?

  • slug

    Fair Deal

    Don’t listen to those criticising. I’d like to thank you for taking the time out to write down your views on the SAA.

  • Ian

    Well I’ve trawled through all six parts of Fair Deal’s contribution, and I’m amazed to find that there’s not one mention of one of the biggest shortcomings of the new deal – namely a mechanism to ensure decommissioning of loyalist arms.

    Oh sure, de Chastelain is still going to be kept in limbo for the next x number of years (poor bastard), but if loyalists don’t come up with the goods, or for that matter if they carry on using them against nationalists and/or each other, where is the ‘Plan B’ to deal with them?

    Considering the massive fuss made by Unionists a couple of years ago about the decommissioning issue, you might have thought that in six lengthy posts, loyalist arms would at least warrant a single mention?

    If I didn’t know better I might draw the conclusion that loyalist illegality is somehow more acceptable to Unionism than republican illegality.

  • Greenflag

    Fair Deal,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts . Naturally your concerns are from an NI Unionist perspective . Others might view the SAA ‘deal’ as a lot of sound signifying not a whole lot . These ‘views’ have been emerging in recent days ‘ John Kampner in the New Statesman once again puts out for view the stark divided nature of NI society despite the media hype of ‘settlement’ . Pat Murphy in the Irish News writes an excellent article on the contradictions within the SAA and seems to prefer Direct Rule instead. And now we see politicians emerging (Empey/Durkanwho are pointing out that Gordon Brown’s 50 billion is not much more than a smoke and mirrors show, with the heavyweight Chancellor showing a flair for hats and disappearing rabbits.

    But you are at least getting close tothe bone when you ask yourself the question hereunder

    ‘ it raises the question does the DUP know what it wants to do when it gains power? The UUP
    didn’t and it hurt them. ‘

    Another question that should be asked is what can the DUP do, or indeed any party in NI do , given the circumstances of a politically divided society , excessive dependency on the public sector, and total dependence on a 6 billion a year subvention to keep the political corpse on IV ?

    I know you have made a big deal about Irish language issues . Frankly if I were a DUP member I’d focus on economic matters . And on the latter issue the SAA does’nt do much except maintain the status quo. If you are happy with that status quo – fine . I suspect that despite the Unionist garden centre perception of ‘we’re doing fine ‘ many NI economists and business people know , that there’s something rotten in the State of NI, and it’s not the Irish language .

    Maybe it’s just Unionism indulging once again in it’s blind alley beliefs or decomposing in on itself ?T he DUP has perhaps inherited the UUP ‘disease’ and now also finds itself unable to adapt or accept the many contradictions , political , cultural and economic which are an inevitable part of the Unionist position in Northern Ireland today, and indeed the Unionist political position in all of Ireland 1800 to 1922?
    The difference being that in today’s world the Unionist ‘economic’ argument is light years away from what it was in 1920 .

    Keep asking the questions though . And thanks again for your honesty in putting forward your reasons .

    BTW I share your NO with no qualifications . My reasons are more general .

    a) It’s undemocratic -a forced coalition -with effective opposition-a two party sectarian carve up.

    b) It’s powers are extremely limited in the very area i.e the economy which NI needs most.

    c) It cements ‘sectarian ‘ politics in a way which will drive the SDLP and UUP further to the margins .

    d) It’s a complicated political structure being imposed on two diametrically opposed parties whose leaders have in over 35 years never spoken directly to each other .

    e) The ‘trust’ is simply not there and with one party committed to an ending of the NI State and the other committed to maintaining it ,then every single policy in any Ministry will be looked at from the perspective of whether or not it supports that party’s constitutional objective .

    The excuse that there is no alternative to the SAA is not good enough . DR is not perfect and it has it’s flaws and it’s also delivered peace and some prosperity . I don’t see anything in the SAA which leads me to believe that it could do any better . So what if Paisley never speaks directly to Adams or not ?

  • bertie

    Ian

    “Well I’ve trawled through all six parts of Fair Deal’s contribution, and I’m amazed to find that there’s not one mention of one of the biggest shortcomings of the new deal – namely a mechanism to ensure decommissioning of loyalist arms”

    Why are you amazed to find no mention about something that the main players have no particular disagreement about. Neither of these main players are part of organisations which have loyalist arms.

    “If I didn’t know better I might draw the conclusion that loyalist illegality is somehow more acceptable to Unionism than republican illegality. ”

    Well it’s a good job that you do know better and maybe that’s because you know that the main reason why “unionism” doesn’t vote for the PUP, except in small numbers.

  • Bertie, who do you reckon members/supporters of the UDA vote for?

  • bertie

    I don’t know and I don’t much care what they do as long as they refrain from breaking the law. Thankfully there aren’t too many of them. Im sure all parties including the Tories, LinDems and Labout have murderers voting for them.

  • Thankfully there aren’t too many of them.

    Not too many? In membership alone the UDA are generally acknowledged to be the largest paramilitary – add their supporters to that and you’ve easily got the bones of a political constituency. The fact that those votes don’t go to candidates openly linked to armed loyalism is clearly not because those voters don’t accept armed loyalism. Same can be said for the UVF and its supporters, a group that encompasses a substantially larger number of people than those who vote PUP.

    There are a few reasons why paramilitary-linked unionist parties (excluding DUP/UR) haven’t done well at the ballot box. It’s fallacious, and farcically simplistic, to put it down to a general unionist rejection of paramilitarism.

  • Bp1078

    “There are a few reasons why paramilitary-linked unionist parties (excluding DUP/UR) haven’t done well at the ballot box”

    Do you want to post up those few reasons?

  • bertie

    “It’s fallacious, and farcically simplistic, to put it down to a general unionist rejection of paramilitarism”

    The main reason that most unionists don’t vote for the PUP, is because they think that they are a pack of murdering bastards and no better than SF. Unless my clrcle of unionist contacts are somehow strangly unrepresentative.

  • frank

    “The main reason that most unionists don’t vote for the PUP, is because they think that they are a pack of murdering bastards and no better than SF. Unless my clrcle of unionist contacts are somehow strangly unrepresentative.”

    Strange then that the orange order have no problems commemorating loyalist killers during their parades.

    Was Brian Robinson not a sectarian murdering bastard ?

    Was Shankill butcher Bobby ‘Basher’ Bates not a sectarian murdering bastard ?

    Etc…………..

  • bertie

    “Strange then that the orange order have no problems commemorating loyalist killers during their parades.”

    Yes they do. I have heard that there have been a few isolated incidents but the vast majority of parades are free of this.

    “Was Brian Robinson not a sectarian murdering bastard ? ”

    I don’t know. His mane doesn;t ring any bells.

    “Was Shankill butcher Bobby ‘Basher’ Bates not a sectarian murdering bastard ?”

    Yes. I don’t recall hm topping the polls.

  • frank

    Gotta love the old ‘ isolated insidents’ routine.

    Bertie

    As a member of the orange order, have you never heard of Brian Robinson ???? Honestly.

    Robinson was a senior member of the orange order who was killed after pumpimg 7 bullets into a catholic man, leaving a shop in Ardoyne.

    Why does the order commemorate a mass murderer
    like ‘Basher’Bates.

    During this years 12th celebrations the orange order commemorated uff commander Joe Bratty. Joe Bratty killed dozens of Catholics.

    ‘your’ order has no problems honouring loyalist killers & many within ‘your’ organisation openly facilitate and support ‘murdering bastards’.

    Red beret or sectarian killers, all are welcome within mainstream unionism.

    “Yes. I don’t recall hm topping the polls.”

    But i do recall him being commemorated and honoured during this years ‘orange order tour of the north parade.

  • bertie

    “As a member of the orange order, have you never heard of Brian Robinson ???? Honestly.”

    Since when have I been a member of the OO?

    “Why does the order commemorate a mass murderer
    like ‘Basher’Bates.”

    Considering that you were so happy to jump to the conclusion that I am in the OO, I am little inclined to take your word on the matter. The issue of the isolated cases has been answered by FairDeal in the past and I have more faith in his assessment than yours, coupled with the fact that I have never seen any terrorists commemorated on any OO parade I have ever witnessed.

  • DareFeel

    Can I ask will fair deal be releasing details of his romantic weekend in six exciting instalments over the next few days?

  • Do you want to post up those few reasons?

    Well first there’s the obvious one that outside a handful of constituencies, members/supporters of loyalist armed groups haven’t got a candidate to vote for (admittedly this is something of a chicken-and-egg situation).

    Beyond that, there’s the fact that by the time the paramilitary-linked parties were formed there was already a well-established party representing the views of extreme unionism. In fact your average knee-jerk fenian-hating loyalist would find the DUP’s platform much more appealing than that of the UDP or PUP, the DUP’s purported opposition to violence notwithstanding.

    Of course it is also the case that some unionists just won’t support a party linked to an armed group (as indeed it is the case on the nationalist side) but if this were due to a general unionist rejection of paramilitarism, the unionist paramilitaries wouldn’t have the membership or support that they have. Frank’s point about the OO is a good one as well.

  • Truth and Justice

    THE DUP have got us an excellent deal all this UUP sour grapes is pathetic the DUP have won

    An end to 50/50 Recrutement
    North South Bodies made Accountable
    Ministers made Accountable
    Financial package for NI
    Equality for Ulster Scots
    a cap on Rates
    Grammar schools saved
    Accademic selection saved
    Sinn Fein to sign up to Policing first with a pledge of office
    Improved east west inter parliamentary framework
    renewal and renewing communities initiatives
    RPA to be decided by Assembly
    Water Rates to be decided by assembly
    NO rates for Orange halls
    The Irish Language is not even in the leglislation for the ST Andrews Agreement and the Assembly gets to descide.

    What did the UUP get us but a one way track to a United Ireland and consecion after consession to Sinn Fein IRA.

  • Carson’s Cat

    F-D
    At least you’ve rationally put forward your views.

    Re the exclusion mechanism – frankly if that isn’t present when the final Yes/No decision has to be taken then I would not support the deal (I believe that to be part of the ‘work in progress’ outlined by the DUP) and I dont believe the DUP as a party would sign off at that point either.

    As for the Irish Language Act, it does seem to be a matter of devolution stopping it – but more clarity would be useful I suppose.

    I happen to believe that you will end up being able to support it along with the vast majority of other unionists. There’s work to be done yet but I do have to agree with your comments about who are the best people to take forward any work which has to be done.

    Like Truth and Justice though, I think we need to start weighing up the positives a little more though. There are plenty of them there and more to be gained yet!

  • fair_deal

    Ian

    The mechanisms for loyalist decommissioning already exist its called the IICD and de chatelain is ready willing and able to deal with it. The message from every party at the St Andrews talk would be the same “Get on with it”

    DareFeel

    “Can I ask will fair deal be releasing details of his romantic weekend in six exciting instalments over the next few days?”

    What happens on the romantic week-end stays on the romantic week-end 😉

    TandJ

    Be careful what you list, this site has a memory. In particualr whoever told you the SAA includes equality for Ulster-Scots is mistaken.

  • GrassyNoel

    As usual people are getting way too caught up in the minutae of a supposed agreement, something which is probably going to end up killing that agreement. And Fair-Deal with respect I think you did leave yourself open to charges of knee-jerking by posting first that you were rejecting the deal and then saying you’d be back in a week to give your reasons.

    The same old attitudes and prejudices seem to be dominant, that’s why I hold hold out much hope of this agreement leading to anything constructive. I would have thought that at this point what the 2 Govts were looking for, and what they believed they’d got, was a broad agreement by both sides to accept the draft agreement and further to that, an agreement to commit to work together to thrash out the finer points of the agreement between themselves via face-to-face negotiations over the medium-to-longer term. But still the 2 parties can’t even agree to sit in the same room together and it looks now that the agreement could be in jeopardy because of this failure to get past these silly semantics and jaded symbolic gestures of defiance.

    Of course the agreement isn’t perfect; no legislative document ever will or could be. Look at the Republic’s constitution, for pity’s sake – there are hopelessly outdated provisions and clauses and flawed and contradictory passages discovered on an almost weekly basis. So does every other written constitution. That’s what constitutional amendments are for, in case anyone hasn’t heard of them. What everybody (apart, perhaps, from SF and DUP supporters) is seeking at this stage is a commitment from both parties that they will at least ATTEMPT to work together to resolve the issues.

    The trouble is that some people don’t seem to want to have any contact what what they designate are ‘undesirables’. They’d rather stand outside Stormont bellowing and making threatening noises.

  • GrassyNoel

    Correction: That’s why I DON’T hold out much hope’ etc.