It’ll happen

In an RTE radio interview DUP MP, Jeffrey Donaldson has said he believes a power-sharing Executive will be achieved.

  • John East Belfast

    The long term Trimble plan which he did not have the foresight to see is progressing to its conclusion.

    How ridiculous Donaldson must feel about the trouble he caused his own Party and sacrificed the UUP/SDLP moderate ground just so that he could deliver a DUP/SF power sharing arrangement based around the sames terms. At the same time he has enabled the ugly cult of Paisleyism its dream of seeing off every other ‘heretical’ unionist leader to enable him to become leader of NI before he heads off to retirement.

    Job accomplished – well done Donaldson – I hope you are proud.
    However Paisley’s joy will ultimately be short lived

    If I was being generous, and setting aside the treacherousy of the likes of Donaldson, SF absorption into the NI state was always inevitable – but it probably came a bit quicker with the DUP at this stage of the process.

    The average unionist voter recognised this and loaned the DUP their vote to ‘finish off’ Republicans.
    However the majority unionist vote is not extremist and it will return to moderate unionism.

    There is no long term future in NI for the types of politics that SF and DUP currently espouse.

    I have no sympathy with SF – they did not honour their commitments with UUP as part of their plan to destroy moderate unionism. They wanted Paisleyism to represent the unionist voice so that they could scare nationalists to them and turn moderate unionists to the idea of a United Ireland.

    However it has backfired because they are now getting their noses rubbed in it by the DUP and moderate unionism will re-emerge again totally intact anyway.

    They have under estimated the unionist mindset throughout not only this process but the entire last 40 years.

    Perhaps they interpreted the desire to do a deal by the pragmatists amongst as typical and totally missed the downright stubborness of the huge wing of unionism that Pro Agreement Unionism slugged it out with for about 10 years. You would have thought they would have learned something from that dispute about the type of negotiations they were going to eventually find themselves in.

    If they had truly wanted to move to the arena of persuading a sufficient number of unionists that their future lay in a separatist independent Ireland they should have completed the process to a purely constitutional nationalist party about 5 years ago.

    We would have been looking at a very different NI now and Militant Republicanism would have been ‘fading’ into obsurity with some (but undeserved) dignity in their own eyes.

  • eyesontheprize

    Well indeed John, the actions of Jeffrey and co didn’t help matters but it was the republican movement who killed the UUP.

    Unlike unionists, Sinn Fein have their eyes fixed firmly on the longterm goal and strategise accordingly.

    Problem is, unionists are too fond of bashing eachother rather than republicans. I quote Jim Well, DUP MLA for South Down.

    “The enemy is not Sinn Fein, it is weak unionism”

    Foolish comments and plays right into republican hands. The UUP is for the most part dead and gone so for the love of the god, do not let the same thing happen to the DUP.

    The signs are there, its time for unionism to stand strongly together. Divided, we will certainly fall.

  • John East Belfast

    eyesontheprize

    Pro Agreement Unionism always had its eye on the prize!

    That goal was a politically stable and prosperous NI within the Union where the greater number of NI citisens were happy with both their Irishness and Britishness wherever their allegiances lay. That was also to be combined with the eventual disbandment of militant Irish Republicanism.

    We are well on target with our goal I dont know what goal you think SF are achieving.
    Yes they thought they should destroy mderate unionism but as I said earlier taht is akin to squeezing hard and long a piece of foam – it will bounce back.
    SF Strategy is back firing.

    You also should lay too much credence on unionists bashing each other as the desire to disagree and fall out is a long time Northern Irish trait.

    When we need each other our paths will always converge again – for as long as necessary.

    The UUP is not for the most part dead – it will re-emerge not least because moderate unionists and anti Paisleyites who care politically about NI have nobody else to vote for

  • Pete

    Very good Jeffrey, personally I didn’t expect anything less surely. I mean, your party did endorse the St Andrews Agreement where this is all contained therein, if somewhat vague.

    To not recognise such commitments would be to allude that the DUP are flawed negotiators and are incompetent politicos.

  • slug

    John and Eyesontheprize

    It seems to me that ‘unionism’ is much more united now than 5 years ago. Basically I don’t think that UUP voters are in great disagreement with what 2/3rds of the DUP are saying – i.e. the Paisley, Donaldson, Robinson group. So that means that probably 3/4 of unionism is in favour of this strategy, which is a more comfortable margin than Trimble enjoyed.

  • lib2016

    Unionism now comprises only 50% of the NI population and any split is too much. If they had modernised forty years ago as O’Neill warned them they could have attracted middleclass Catholic support to replace the unionist diehards.

    It would seem that any attempt to modernise unionism will destroy it just as surely as a refusal to modernise. Difficult choice!

  • I suspect that when Jeffrey anticipates a deal in 07 he is thinking about a November election.
    What incentive does the DUP have to complete things now?
    Their base doesn’t like the rush or the men imposing the deadline, Blair and Hain.
    The want a period of testing Sinn Fein after the committment to policing is made. They have been clear about that since ’04 at least.
    They know that Sinn Fein’s big prize is an electoral one in the south, on the back of having secured a deal in the North and presented themselves as responsible people in government there.
    Why would the DUP give Sinn Fein any help in going for a stronger presence in the Dail? They took the leadership of Unionism on the back of a promise to reverse the flow of goodies to Sinn Fein. Their own advantage lies in taking the chance to give Adams a good slap, and then to deal with a more chastened Sinn Fein afterwards.
    And if it is true that Sinn Fein is splitting, then the DUP will naturally want to prolong the pain for them.
    The election would normally fall due in November. The DUP has a strong case to make for sticking to that schedule instead of the March deadline.
    Of course, Blair wants March, so that he can hang a Mission Accomplished banner in front of Stormont. The DUP would only give him that if they had to. They would feel they had to if they feared that Brown would not want to play the peace process game. But if Brown was to come in, knowing that the DUP was up for a November deal and election, and that he only had to give it the one shot, and not get dragged into a long game, then why would he turn his back on the chance?
    He would see that as a glorious two fingers to Blair, who had failed.
    Put your money on November.

  • Yokel

    Malachi

    Yep, 2007 has 12 months in it just like any other.

    Jeffrey’s statement will look good to everyone else but Sinn Fein. It’s less hardline than some others, mentions 2007 and interestingly was said on RTE…

    For the SF leadership however it slightly narrows the ground to refuse to call the special conference.

    It’s statements like this that make me wonder even more that, although there differences, that the DUP at the top table have agreed on one thing, that they are going make Sinn Fein twist and turn until it hurts.

    And it is hurting.

  • bertie

    JEB

    “I have no sympathy with SF – they did not honour their commitments with UUP as part of their plan to destroy moderate unionism.”

    That the main problem you have with them?

    “However the majority unionist vote is not extremist and it will return to moderate unionism.”

    …. and vote for UUP/UVF???

  • Comrade Stalin

    lib2016:

    Unionism now comprises only 50% of the NI population

    Got a source for this nonsense ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    …. and vote for UUP/UVF???

    Bertie,

    I don’t see why not. They were happy enough to vote for DUP/LVF.

  • Michael Shilliday

    Anyone else spot which party backdrop is behind wee Jeffrey in that photo? Someone in the BBC has a sense of humour!

  • McCrea told the Sunday Tribune that Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness should be put on trial like Saddam Hussein, not put into government.

    “Saddam’s trial is a reminder that those guilty of crimes against humanity should be toppled rather than elevated to high office, ” he said.

    Enough said?

  • bertie

    “I don’t see why not. They were happy enough to vote for DUP/LVF. ”

    eh no Comrade. The LVF is not a component part of the DUP. It has not formed an electoral group pact with the LVF. The fact that it is not DUP/LVF is one of the reasons that many people voted for the DUP and I hope that the UUP get electorally slaughtered for its pact.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The LVF is not a component part of the DUP.

    The UVF is not a component of the UUP. However, Ulster Resistance, the Third Force and many others are components of the DUP through common membership. Former UDA and UVF terrorists seek election under the DUP banner.

    The fact that it is not DUP/LVF is one of the reasons that many people voted for the DUP and I hope that the UUP get electorally slaughtered for its pact.

    My question is, why wasn’t the McCrea/Wright thing worthy of an electoral slaughtering ? This is the difference between you and me. I don’t think it’s OK to get up on a stage with an active terrorist in order to show solidarity. You think it’s inconsequential. I will never believe that consorting with unreconstructed terrorists is inconsequential. You dismiss it with a wave of the hand.

  • John East Belfast

    bertie

    “That the main problem you have with them?”

    No it isnt and I didnt say it was

    “and vote for UUP/UVF???”

    very casual and cheap shot posting by you overall if my say.

    lib2016

    “It would seem that any attempt to modernise unionism will destroy it just as surely as a refusal to modernise. Difficult choice!”

    wishful as well as nonsensical thinking on your part.
    unionism is slow about a lot of things but when it comes to doing what it has to for survival it is pretty quick off the mark

    Slug

    “Basically I don’t think that UUP voters are in great disagreement with what 2/3rds of the DUP are saying – i.e. the Paisley, Donaldson, Robinson group”

    I think you should say that now that the UUP have done all the heavy lifting on prisoner releases etc the DUP are now in agreement with about 90% of all that we say.

    However I am not comfortable about the new Designations for FM & DFM being decided by largest Parties rather than cross community support and I am not happy with vetos on Ministers.

    Overall though a power sharing administration for the good of Northern Ireland is the right track.

    Malachi

    “The election would normally fall due in November. The DUP has a strong case to make for sticking to that schedule instead of the March deadline.”

    I suppose they are in danger of over playing their hand like SF have done.

    I dont think SF really need or value NI electoral success in the north to bolster the same in the south. I think you are way overplaying the significance of that.
    Their campaign in the south is totally different there and is about very different issues – although I agree that an inability to support the forces of law and order in the northern jurisdiction could and should be exploited by their oppenents to show how these people are not fit for government – however they could always blame their problems on the monstrous unionists and DUP in particular and would probably get away with it.

    Ultimately there is no long term purpose for SF south anyway and their only existance in the north is the UI one.
    Any succefful populist views they expouse south of the border would be subsumed by the established parties in due course.

    SF’s sole purpose was a Free and Separate UI and if they lose too much sight of that they will become increasingly ridiculous and irrelevant. The death of miltant Irish Republicanism for this generation is the goal

    Unionists need a deal north of the border far more than republicans and that has always been the case.
    That NI needed a deal was the Pro Agreement unionist view and we still cannot trust the DUP not to screw it all up.

    Donaldson believes a deal is needed himself and indeed he touches on it in this broadcast when he talks about the socioecomic issues.
    Basically the business community and our economy cannot tolerate this ongoing messing about – stability is needed for real prosperity and progress for Northern Ireland.

    Any reticence by the DUP for a March election is because they want more time to secure their own vote.
    They will not get any more UUP votes and they are more than likley to lose many of their own who choose to stay at home.

  • Henry94

    Malachi O’Doherty

    I’m sure Sinn Fein can fight the southern election on the “Paisley refuses to share power ticket” as easily as the “successful outcome” platform

    In any case their experience in the south has shown that it is hard work on the ground rather than news of the process that gets them votes.

    But your point that it is better to give the prize to Brown than Blair at this stage is a good one.

  • lib2016

    Stalin,

    The unionist share of the vote has been falling steadily for the last twenty years. This is a subject which has been gone over time and again and the use of loaded language won’t change that reality.

    What is changing is the success of the Irish economy which mean that the financial facts of life now favour Irish unity and that will tip the balance.

    Unionism is isolated and without a serious argument hence their emotive language and demonisation of their opponents.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The unionist share of the vote has been falling steadily for the last twenty years.

    You didn’t say “vote”. You said “population”. Given electoral turnouts barely hitting 60%, it’s extremely disingenuous of you to transpose the views of those motivated to vote onto those who for one reason or another are not motivated to vote. I find this kind of dishonesty revealing. It’s right up there with that “one million unionists” bullshit. I don’t think there have ever even been one million people on the electoral roll.

    Unionism is isolated and without a serious argument hence their emotive language and demonisation of their opponents.

    Name a political faction in Northern Ireland which doesn’t demonize the people perceived to be their opponents.

  • lib2016

    Stalin,

    Sorry – not my scene to get into these ‘theological’ schoolboy debates. Have a chat with ‘Ingram’ and you’ll find that he’s into this sort of misdirection. Maybe you’ll have fun together discussing the silent majority or somesuch.

    In the real world people who rely on pointing out their opponent’s misuse of grammar etc. merely show the poverty of their argument. The votes are steadily getting closer and that can only have one end.

    The DUP don’t have the luxury of time since they are the people with an aging falling support base. Denying the obvious is a sign of weakness – is that what you really want to convey?

  • bertie

    ““and vote for UUP/UVF???”

    very casual and cheap shot posting by you overall if my say. ”

    Not at all casual. Said with all the disgust I can muster.

  • bertie

    “The UVF is not a component of the UUP. However, Ulster Resistance, the Third Force and many others are components of the DUP through common membership. Former UDA and UVF terrorists seek election under the DUP banner.”

    If the UVF had been as responsible for as few murders ad the UR and the TF, they wouldn’t feature on my radar.

    “My question is, why wasn’t the McCrea/Wright thing worthy of an electoral slaughtering ?”

    I don’t know perhaps because as I understand ot Wright had not been convicted of anything at that point and was under a death threat.

    “This is the difference between you and me. I don’t think it’s OK to get up on a stage with an active terrorist in order to show solidarity.”

    No the difference beteen us is that I wouldn’t accuse you of that unless you said something which would justify the accusation.

    I don’t think it OK and it would probably have lost him my vote. However the DUP was not on stage with BW, he was.

    “You think it’s inconsequential”

    I don’t. But as I say it is not the DUP. The UUP made its alliance with Ervine.

    “I will never believe that consorting with unreconstructed terrorists is inconsequential.”

    It depends on the nature of the consorting. Police officers, priests and clegymen have a duty to consort with them.

    ” You dismiss it with a wave of the hand. ”

    I dismiss it as evidence of your DUP/LVF comment.

    I do not think that having unreconstructed terrorists in government is unconsequential.

  • BP1078

    Lib2016

    The unionist share of the vote has been falling steadily for the last twenty years. This is a subject which has been gone over time and again and the use of loaded language won’t change that reality

    You haven’t provided any evidence for this:

    You should check the statistics on this site:
    http://www.ark.ac.uk/elections/

    For example:

    In the Westminster Election of 2001 the unionist (ie DUP and UUP combined, not including Alliance and the PUP)totalled 49.3 %, the combined nationalist vote (SDLP and SF)was 42.7%.

    In the Westminster election of of 2005 those figures had changed to 51.4% and 42.7% respectively. There is a similar pattern evident in both European and Council elections since 2000, i.e. the difference between the two camps has stabilised and even in some cases increased slightly in the Unionist favour.

    The DUP don’t have the luxury of time since they are the people with an aging falling support base.

    Really? What’s the proof for that? Now, I’m sure you wouldn’t just be assuming that on a sectarian headcount basis dug out from the last census-still I’d be interested to see where you got your evidence from.

  • BP1078

    In the Westminster election of of 2005 those figures had changed to 51.4% and 42.7% respectively

    Sorry typo, the combined nationalist vote actually dropped to 41.8% in 2005.

  • Henry94

    Comrade Stalin

    Unionism is a political position. If people don’t vote for it then they can’t be counted as unionists. So if you insist on including the non-voters the unionist population is well under 50%. As is of course the nationalist population.

    We can’t read the minds of non-voters.

  • slug

    Henry94

    To return to the point in hand I am encouraged that Donaldson is talking so positively about the possibilities for devolution this year and the need to be getting on with important social and economic questions. I don’t much care if its March or September but I would like to see this thing resolved. I believe that it is getting closer and the fuss over the last few days is actually a sign of the changes that are coming.

    What is slightly boring is how everyone (on both sides) still seems so keen to take cheap negative shots at the other side.

  • Nationalist

    BP1078, if it is a straight sectarian headcount then the latest figures from the NI Statistics office which updated the population figures to the end of 2004 returned the following:
    53.1% of the population had a protestant background and 43.8% of the population had a Catholic background.

    If people vote, as is generally the case in NI, along the Catholic = Nationalist and Protestant = Unionist then it is very likely that the Nationalist (Catholic) population will be the Majority community within the next 10years or so.

    You will find that the Protestant community in the over 55years age group is the majority and that the Catholic Community is the majority in the under 35years age group with the inbetween being somewhat even.

    In all likelyhood the elderly will die first and with them the Protestant majority. Would you therefore like to guess the outcome?

    Unionists, and inparticulaly the DUPs, continuous denial of equality to Catholics will force them to seek refuge in a UI, therefore Unionists need to urgently change their ways if they are to win over the large numbers of Catholics they have always claimed would vote for the union to stay.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Unionism is a political position. If people don’t vote for it then they can’t be counted as unionists. So if you insist on including the non-voters the unionist population is well under 50%. As is of course the nationalist population.

    Henry94, it’s pretty obvious that this is not what the lib2016 meant. I interpreted it as a “soon we’ll be a majority and we’ll kick their asses” comment. Nationalist majoritarianism isn’t going to work any better than unionist majoritarianism did.

    Nationalist:

    If people vote, as is generally the case in NI, along the Catholic = Nationalist and Protestant = Unionist then it is very likely that the Nationalist (Catholic) population will be the Majority community within the next 10years or so.

    Firstly, I’m pretty sure the census count is skewed. The census takers estimated the religious background of people where they ticked the “I’m neither a prod nor a taig” box.

    Secondly, looking at the election results, the nationalist vote increased by 0.2% on average between 1997 and 2005. By my reckoning, if that trend continues it will take another 40-odd years for there to be a majority who vote nationalist. Can you tell me where you’re getting this “10 years” thing ?

    Furthermore, there have been various studies over the years which have suggested in a referendum on the union, unionist voters may not necessarily vote for the union, and (more frequently) nationalist voters may not necessarily vote for reunification. Nobody can say either way.

  • exuup

    Unionists, and inparticulaly the DUPs, continuous denial of equality to Catholics will force them to seek refuge in a UI —

    are they still coming up with this old bollocks
    wish they could tell me what law or right that a protestant have that a catholic does not

  • Nationalist

    Comrade Stalin, you are correct that theCensus people did make an estimate but that was based on a number of factors in order to make it as accurate as possible.

    The 10 year thing is based on the fact that the Nationalist population rose by some 5.42% between 1991 and 2004, and that the over 55 Year age group is likely to die before younger people. The over 55 years age group is where the Protestant population has its majority whilst the Catholic population has a majority in the under the under 35 years age group.

    Based on those facts then about 10 years or so the population would change from the current Protestant majority to being that of a Catholic
    majority. As the elderly Protestant majority dies so it is then replaced by a younger Catholic majority. Year on year the swing would be increasing.

    Obviously when it comes to voting then people have to go out and vote and this is were the problems are in that many people are not registering.

    You are of course correct that no one can truely say how any single person will vote in the event of a referendum. But at the end of the day the population is becoming more balanced in % terms, in the 1970s Unionists continually spoke of the Catholic population being about 30% and how most of them would vote for the union as they knew they would be better off.

    That presumtion was still being put out by Trimble only a few years ago, I believe he stated that two thirds of Catholics would vote for the union, which makes you wonder why they always tell the Protestant voter they must vote for them to protect the union.

    All in all the Catholic population will be the majority community in the six counties in 10 years or so and at that time someone will have to decide whether there is to be referendum, which will then be held every 7 years thereafter until re-unification.

  • Nationalist

    Exuup, lets see – how about the right to parade through areas that are deemed to be Protestant districts or Protestant towns. I believe there was a request for a Republican parade through Ballymena but Ian Paisley objected and the Parades Commission upheld the objection.

    Equality means being equal and have the same rights and privileges as all other citizens and therefore if Loyalist parades are entitled to walk down roads – through areas which are 100% Catholic and those parades are not wanted then surely Republicans should be allowed to parade likewise?

    I believe however that the Republican parade wanted to parade through a mixed area and not through a 100% Protestant area.

    The DUPs Ian Paisley Jnr objected on the grounds that these parades had no place being in a Protestant town like Ballymena, yet the DUP has no problem backing Unionist terrorists shotting up Belfast in order to get a parade through Catholic Springfield Road and still demands to walk through the Garvaghy Road where they are not wanted.

    Or do you support the right of Nationalists and Republicans to be able to walk through Protestant areas in the same way as Unionists demand to go through Catholic areas?

  • George

    BP1078,
    there were 100,000 less votes for unionist parties in 2005 than there were 20 years ago.

    This can be put down to the Garden centre Prod tendency to a certain degree but it still has to be a major concern for unionism as a political ideology.

    400,000 odd voters on an island of 6 million plus.

    JEB,
    I think this Irish and British thing of which you speak simply hasn’t materialised. I thought it might but it simply hasn’t.

    Or could you show me an Irish person from north of the border who has got in touch with his/her Britishness since 1998 to such an extent that he/she broadcasts it?

  • Nationalist

    George, There are a couple of 100,000 of them. They may not believe they are Irish but every time they leave here to go abroad everyone will always say to them “Your Irish” to which of course they reply NO I’m British!.

    Wereas the rest of the world are happy referring to the country they were born and identify with. Its funny how the English, Scots and Welsh never refer to themselves in that way, maybe becausse they all have their own cultures which don’t come from the back page of a newspaper.

  • Dualta

    The DUP have an opportunity to do one of two things here, as has been said, give SF an leg up for the election in the south or hit them a slap.

    The temptation of giving them a slap would be too much to fight off, even if they tried to fight it off, which they won’t.

    That said, there is no-one better at exploiting Unionist ‘intransigence’ for political benefit than SF. Either way, I think the chances are that they’ll move to support the PSNI and side-step the DUP and build their brownie points (pardon the pun) with the two govts.

    In the interim they can concentrate on shoring up their own base. After a period the DUP’s machinations will become ever more squeaky and their excuses less convincing.

  • BP1078

    If people vote, as is generally the case in NI, along the Catholic = Nationalist and Protestant = Unionist then it is very likely that the Nationalist (Catholic) population will be the Majority community within the next 10years or so.

    Nationalist,
    That’s a big “if” and you’ve got no better a crystal ball than I have to see what’ll happen within the next three months never mind 10 years.

    The important figure is not the religious breakdown: a border poll wiil not be a sectarian headcount, but the punters actually going to the ballot box. If I were a nationalist, rather than relying on the old stale arguments, I’d be looking to see how I can make my vision of a United ireland more attractive to the 30-35 % who no longer vote and a bit less unpalatable to the those Unionists who do vote. That seems to be too difficult a task at the minute though doesn’t it?
    (PS You may want to check those census figures again)

    George
    there were 100,000 less votes for unionist parties in 2005 than there were 20 years ago.

    This can be put down to the Garden centre Prod tendency to a certain degree but it still has to be a major concern for unionism as a political ideology

    Nevertheless, as the statistics show (and contrary to Nationalist’s assertions), this decline has been halted and to some extent reversed in the last 5 years.

    However, as I’ve said there is no way of knowing what will happen with these figures over the next ten years; I suspect that both Unionism and Nationalism will both have to move into the 21st Century and start finding some real politics from somewhere.

  • BP1078

    400,000 odd voters on an island of 6 million plus

    George,
    Just seen this.
    Invalid comparison:

    1. You’re comparing number of voters with the number of inhabitants.
    2. ROI inhabitants/voters don’t vote in our elections.

  • Crataegus

    BP1076

    If I were a nationalist, rather than relying on the old stale arguments, I’d be looking to see how I can make my vision of a United ireland more attractive to the 30-35 % who no longer vote and a bit less unpalatable to the those Unionists who do vote.

    That’s the nub of the problem and the reverse for Unionists.

    The sectarian head count is the divisive and why rely on one avenue?

    I can imagine the new Unionist call to the ladies, “for Queen and country dear”. Wouldn’t be surprised if the UUP use it as their election logo.

  • darth rumsfeld

    just a few pointers to calm down nationalist and others about voting trends. Yeah the Prods are older …but older people are more likely to vote.
    Yeah, there are possibly 100,000 garden centre prods, for whom Trimble sacrificed his political career in the vain hope that they would stick with him post referendum. But the coming decade will see the same phenomenon on the nationalist side-it’s already starting in south Belfast. Middle class taigs (except of course our posting friend Middle class taig)will be more concerned about getting their wedding photographs into the Tatler and buying designer specs from Geoff McConville than the fourth green field.

    Don’t , please think that the typical Roman Catholic will feel his heart beat faster as Easter 2016 looms on the horizon, and vote in one last heave to crush the Planters. On polling day, he’ll be too busy watching Manchester United v Burton Albion in the Conference on Sky, or having a skinny latte up the Lisburn Road.

    Or, if I’m wrong, and the Union is up for grabs, what makes you think the inevitable strident cries from whatever the Shinners have evolved into won’t antagonise the garden centre Prods to the polling booths? In a referendum, even Bangor votes count.

    Malachi O’Doherty is as perceptive as ever. The DUP will sit tight as long as they can, knowing that Brown will come in in a matter of weeks, Hain will be packing his bags, and the first thing Gordon does not want in his in tray will be a request for troops to be transferred from Iraq to control the pesky prods rioting against joint authority. Tony should have stayed in Miami.And the dance can start again in the autumn.

    As for John EB’s opening pop. I don’t agree with Jeffrey’s emphasis on this, unless he’s been sent out to play the good cop role for HMG consumption. But as usual with pro-GFA people a smear covers up a lack of argument, and Jeffrey’s hands are clean on this.
    If JD was opposed to any deal involving Sinn fein why did he stay in the talks until the very last minute and break on issues of prisoner-decommissioning linkage? Why did he try to hold the UUP to its own interpretation of the GFA? It was the UUP that repeatedly moved its position from Good Friday 1998-remember “No guns , no government”? Donaldson has arguably displayed a consistency greater than the leadership of both the DUP and the UUP so far as strategic goals are concerned. The reason the UUP hate him so much is that he showed up their complete lack of strategic thinking and tactical nous. I don’t expect him to be able to do the same for the DUP, but we’ll soon see.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “We can’t read the minds of non-voters.

    Posted by Henry94 on Jan 07, 2007 @ 10:03 PM”

    but we are surely entitled to assume that anyone who cannot be bothered to register a vote against the status quo is content to see no change, and is therefore de facto passively unionist?

  • lib2016

    darth,

    Glad to see that we’ve moved on from the unending circular argument about statistics. At least we now know why certain DUP representatives were so interested in making sure that the votes of the old folk were cast, whether they knew it or not. 😉

    You make a good point about ‘passive’ unionism and people will be nervous of any change, particularly if both communities succeed in developing a more workable model for our longterm prosperity together.

    My answer would be that we won’t be ready for reunification until Sinn Fein has had an opportunity to show that a Sinn Fein First Minister can and should act to represent the whole NI community.

    Maskey did well in Belfast but it was only the beginning of a political process which is just as important as the building of a single economy on this island.

    Whatever emerges in the future may be as far from the ideals of 1916 as current ideas of ‘Britishness’ are from the ideals of First World War British Imperialism.

  • Sammy Morse

    Can you tell me where you’re getting this “10 years” thing ?

    Because Gerry told them there’d be a united Ireland by the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising, and some of them were gullible enough to believe him.

    Tiocfadh ar lá!

  • BP1078

    lib2016

    Glad to see that we’ve moved on from the unending circular argument about statistics

    Yes, those damned facts and statistics, they have such a nasty habit of deconstructing myths don’t they?:)

  • kensei

    “Or, if I’m wrong, and the Union is up for grabs, what makes you think the inevitable strident cries from whatever the Shinners have evolved into won’t antagonise the garden centre Prods to the polling booths? In a referendum, even Bangor votes count.”

    Equally, Paisley or his successor might do something that looks like a throwback and an effective Yes campaign run by the Southern Government might pull in more people, the Shinner’s might have been doing at least an alright job in Government for a while and Scotland might go independent and change the terms of the debate. I know, mad thought, how about we wait until there is actually a referendum?