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.)