Hain attacks DUP lead lights over begrudging approach

Following on from Gerry Adams’ decision to publish the text of the statement he alleges DUP leader Ian Paisley had agreed to publicly make earlier this month, British Secretary of State, Peter Hain, has chosen this moment to lambast the “begrudgery” of some leading figures from within the DUP. Hain was speaking during an interview to be broadcast during today’s Inside Politics programme.

  • Yokel

    Temper temper Peter, seeing it all get difficult?

    Still the UK Government doesnt say that anyone agreed to a solid timeline. Thats all they’d have to do. Why can’t they?

  • Rubicon

    I agree with Adams on this but think he was too optimistic about progress with the DUP. I think many SF supporters have been too optimistic on this score. The schism in the DUP is clear for all to see and is probably the real reason the DUP refuse to negotiate with SF directly – just so that they can come out with denials such as we’ve seen in the past weeks. It certainly isn’t based on not talking with terrorists since we know their record on that score.

    The new basis looks like bringing about a more ruthless approach from SF. SF’s AF passing support for policing will place the first test of the DUP in March 7th. A split party with the UKUP in the wings has more to fear than SF has from its challengers. The DUP has already capitalised about as much as it can from UUP defections. SF, in the context of support for policing, can still make electoral gains – may be not on March 7th but certainly in elections after that.

    SF faith in the DUP needs to change to finding a party representing unionists that is prepared to share power. Between the 7th and 26th of March unionists could be split 3 ways leaving them in disarray. At an extreme it could leave SF as the largest party (though unlikely) and force unionism to get its act in order. A close result could also produce the same incentive.

    Come May ’08, a failure to devolve policing should cause SF to dissolve the Assembly and throw the parties back to their electorates. The old business of the UK government suspending the Assembly won’t be repeated – political parties will be forced to account to the electorate.

    By May ’08 the political context will have changed significantly and SF would be in a good position to make significant gains. A split within unionism at that time (their backwoodsmen show no signs of going away) will generate the circumstances that could produce a unionist bloc willing to make devolution work.

    The new bases I’d suggest SF take is some ‘electoral shock treatment’ for unionism. It’s a shame it seems that it is required and it indicates a more difficult road ahead than one would have hoped for. But – post March SF can get on with making progress in the south – there’s enough there to be getting on with for now.

  • Nationalist

    Rubicon has a fair point. It’s a pity that the Unionist electorate didn’t see the DUP for what they are Right-Wing Conservative Fascists and change there vote now to a working class party who would be willing to work with Sinn Fein for peaceful change.

    That party would or should have been the PUP under David Ervine, but whether there will be anyone capable of standing up and filling his shoes and whether the Unionist people can ever see past the lies of the Right-Wing Conservative Fascists is another thing.

    Why is it that the Unionist people never gave a party with working class policies a chance and continue to vote for the far right of Conservative type policies? Unfortunately David Ervine no longer has the chance to change their views.

  • Yokel

    Those poor Unionists…

    deluded that they are…

    being fooled….

    mugs…

    not a brain cell amongst them…

    thick…

    useless bastards….

  • Rubicon

    I’m not saying any of those things Yokel. My point is that the divergent views within unionism vis-a-vis power sharing with SF do not map on to unionist poitical parties. It is this mis-match that SF could exploit until such time as a unionist party politic emerges that clearly distinguishes between those unionist voters who do not wish to share power and those unionists that do.

  • Tom Strong

    I don’t know Rubicon, Yokel may have a point.

  • Yokel

    Rubicon

    I do understand what you are saying.

    There was a party and it was the UUP. Unionists by and large do want a deal, there’s not mass protests on the streets (a Unionist favorite) over whats going on. The hint should be taken.

    What they won’t do however is just any deal. They felt shortchanged by the GFA in practice even if the majority accepted it on paper as a workable deal. What needs to be addressed is just why unionists ultimately withdrew their support as a populous for such a deal. The rise of the DUP is founded on votes that previously went UUP. Those votes can equally go back, but there’s disillusionment, whether nationalists like it or not, and the DUP has been tasked with striking a new deal. There’s always lots of talk of of dealing with reality on the ground, like, for example SF’s position as the dominant nationalist party. Both are reality and both need dealing with and elements on either side refuse to face it. Both sides, not just one, but both.

    Unionists aren’t some poor dupes, they aren’t stupid and they will have good laugh at some of the patronising bollocks that appears from time to time suggesting that they are, because in effect its saying are thick. Why not just say it and be straight. The other thing is this nationalist idea of trying to show unionists that a new agreed Ireland (not NI) is going to be ok. This is often founded on some truly deluded idea that Unionists want to be part of a United Ireland in that way nas long as they are shown its nice and lovely.

    Breaking news, they don’t and nationalism needs to stop playing around with the misled dupes idea. Thats the reality and such concepts seem to amount to a metaphorical patting of unionists on the head and saying, ‘oh look isnt it lovely, go make new friends’ like some mother with her kid at the school gates.

    Whether thats how its intended to look, thats how it will seem to many unionists. And I think you can guess what their response will be because yours would likely be the same.

    Anyway I havent had me lunch yet. There might still be some Turkey in the fridge, though its turned green…

  • lib2016

    The problem for unionists is that they devised the NI entity as one in which they would always have a majority. Now that they are no longer guaranteed that majority they have to come up with new ideas.

    If one rejects Irish republicanism of any hue one needs to have a workable alternative. So far unionism has failed to come up with one though David Irvine and others made real efforts to do so.

    The DUP offer no alternative for any of their supporters with whom I am familiar but merely the ‘least worst’ future. In fact they offer nothing to stop the unionist ‘brain drain’ and are merely a holding position.

    The real problem is where the post-unionist vote goes because that’s what holds the balance. The SDLP or Sinn Fein or Aldergrove….there are no other choices in the longterm although there may well be a shortlived ‘Pradistint Party’ of some populist right wing variety as there was in other European countries in the last century.

  • It is perfectly valid to “begrudge” kudos to the IRA. Moving to become civilised is hardly worthy of praise, in fact the decades of IRA butchery merits continued condemnation.

    Hain, the personification of political opportunism, has made a very helpful intervention here, and I trust the pro-Union electorate will reflect on his comments. When a pro-Sinn Fein Sec of State attacks you, you know you’re on the right road. The Begrudgers are right, the appeasers remain wrong, and the DUP pragmatists continue to evade coming out with the truth.

    It’s been interesting reading the comments of the pro-Sinn Fein/IRA readers in the past number of days on this site. Whilst one cannot be sure of their age, (or lack of it) their squalid acceptance of elevating terrorism into Government is a fascinating damnation on the alleged peace process.

    They eulogise IRA and UVF godfathers, attack those who point out such inconvenient truths, and then chatter incessantly amongst each other as to who can be most pro-insurrection. And this is progress??? Truly, through a glass darkly.

    Only the warm glow from Perma-tan Pete’s face can throw light on the darkness of their political souls.

  • BonarLaw

    lib2016

    “The SDLP or Sinn Fein or Aldergrove”

    A hint of the “suitcase or coffin” option offered to the pird noirs?

    Sorry to spoil your weekend but I see no evidence of “post unionism”- plenty of talk about “post nationalism” though.

  • Kia

    By agreeing to something in negotiations and then reneging the DUP might think they’re being smart but the Brit Government are not going to be impressed and this may work against them long-term.
    The DUP obviously have no notion of how negotiations work and how they can backfire if you mess about.

  • lib2016

    BonarLaw,

    Better men than me have noticed that the middleclass are increasingly international whether they are based in Europe, America or the Middle East.

    It is observable fact what effect this is having on the unionist population. Go to any estate agent and ask what areas are cheapest and where there are more empty properies.

    As for the suggestion of a threat in my mentioning the obvious – loyalists of my acquaintance seem well aware of the fact that their community is committing suicide.

    By

  • BonarLaw

    lib2016

    “Go to any estate agent and ask what areas are cheapest”

    The most expensive property in NI is in Lisburn at, on average, £194,519. Followed by Coleraine at £185,040.

    Given your rather blunt analysis perhaps a name change is in order – lib2216?

    Bye

  • lib2016

    BonarLaw,

    You really think that the ‘lurkers’ won’t notice that you posted about two expensive areas whereas I had pointed out that the loyalist heartlands were caught in a downwards spiral?

    It’s that sort of contempt for people which got unionism where it is today. The UUP forgot their roots and paid the price, now it is the turn of the DUP.

  • noel adams

    Perma Progress slag peter of all you like David Vance but tell us what unionist or nat leader has oversceen 700,000 in work and falling waiting lists.

  • George

    Yokel,
    as things are, in order for unionism to survive, all those who support unionism will have to remain together in a single monolith. Leftwing, rightwing, gay, heterosexual, economic liberals, trade unionists.

    Currently, that monolith is the DUP. There are huge challenges facing unionism in the coming years and these challenges aren’t going to go away.

    Unionism has so far merely provided an ideology that offers continued membership of the union by virtue of ensuring virtually all Protestants vote in a certain way.

    This isn’t going to last forever.

  • Mick Fealty

    For what it’s worth, I’ve not seen anyone come up with evidence of splitting within the DUP of the kind and degree we have seen within Sinn Fein: de-selection of one third of their MLAs versus the resignation of one local councillor (for the second time in four years).

    As for not doing business with SF directly, it looks like a canny tactical decision. When things go wrong, the blame falls between SF and the British, rather than between SF and the DUP. As one commentator told Slugger recently: ‘there is only one winner in any blame game between those two’.

    Has it worked? Well, GA’s unprecedented media marathon last night, waving Downing Street notepaper in front of every camera he could find, was clearly a desperate attempt to play the optics. But the publication of that letter has left Hain (rather than the DUP) holding the mess.

    Adams is left to play one weak card energetically. And the British can only growl from the outside – unsurprisingly, since, despite having done what they could to help SF, they have otherwise played this stage of the game with a straightish bat.

  • Mick Fealty

    George,

    It seems strange to hear people characterising transparently successful parties such as Sinn Fein and the DUP as fundamentally weak.

    A monolith is defined as ‘a single great stone’. Talk to anyone who has studied the DUP and they will tell you its success has been based on the capacity of it’s leadership to forge a coalition of interests. In the context of a parliamentary democracy, I doubt they will always be successful. At some point it may well crack and give way to another coalition of interests.

    But a coalition is not a monolith.

  • BonarLaw

    George

    “Unionism has so far merely provided an ideology that offers continued membership of the union by virtue of ensuring virtually all Protestants vote in a certain way.

    This isn’t going to last forever.”

    The fact that is as true today as it was in 1921 is perhaps telling.

    Outsiders have always failed to see unionism as the coalition or broad church it is. Its’ endurance is because of this “big tent” politics and- if it was monolithic it would have imploded long ago.

  • qubol

    Mick “I’ve not seen anyone come up with evidence of splitting within the DUP of the kind and degree we have seen within Sinn Fein: de-selection of one third of their MLAs versus the resignation of one local councillor”

    Maybe your not looking then mick. Not all the deslections or MLA’s deciding not to stand are connected to the Policing debate and for you to claim otherwise is wrong – its just not based on fact.
    Your claim that the only crack in the DUP is the resignation of Jack Mckee is again rubbish. The DUP once good at presenting a unified message are now what some people might politely call a ‘broad church’. Allister saying one thing, Robinson another and in the middle the ageing Paisley trying to hold the ship together. Thats not speculation thats fact. Otherwise why has Paisley twice pulled back from the deal and not said what he was meant to say. What about the stormy Assembly group meeting in December?
    Also while we are on the subject since the Free P’s are so closely connected to the party what about the open desent within the church to Paisleys politics? The only thing that is stopping further divisions at the DUP is what Jim Gibney called Paisley’s ‘creative ambiguity’.
    Im certainly not trying to claim that problems dont exist in Sinn Fein cos they do but lets not try and kid ourselves as to the extent of problems within the DUP.

  • Bruce101

    “Allister saying one thing, Robinson another and in the middle the ageing Paisley trying to hold the ship together. Thats not speculation thats fact.” (Qubol)

    Has quobal some evidence to support this rubbish. Allister is off the wall but I have seen nothing to suggest Robinson and Paisley are not both on the same message”.

  • George

    Mick,
    I fully accept there are wide and varied views within the DUP and within the unionist population in general. I thought I made that clear.

    But to date the unionist ideology can be best described as a monolith and the DUP is now the political vehicle of this monolith.

    The only reason such diverse views are all in the DUP and not split up like they would be everywhere else is because it is a coalition if interests in the interest of a single ideology – unionism.

    This is virtually unique in 21st century Europe.

    Bonarlaw,
    I don’t think unionism has ever been challenged like it has been in the last decade and like it is about to be in the coming years. We shall see how strong it is.

  • qubol

    Well we have Paisley, Jr, Robinson and Donaldson all welcoming this and that whilst remaining deliberatly ambiguous on the timetable. On the other side we have Allister, Morrow, Dodds, Campbell McCrea and Simpson all taking comfort from the ambiguity but telling everyone that will listen that devolution won’t happen never mind devolution of policing and justice. These 2 positions aren’t compatable and sooner or later the DUP is going to have to confront it. You might not like it Bruce but the DUPs problems extend beyond Allister being “off the wall”

  • Mick Fealty

    q,

    You might be right. If you are, we should start to see a few DUP buildings on fire. There are some whirls of smoke, but nothing like the trouble SF plainly has (without specifying reasons, you don’t dump a third of your MLAs at such a crucial time, without good reason). Maybe the DUP’s difficulty will follow?

    Here’s the relevant line from Gibney’s article:

    “It [creative ambiguity] is only credible if the underlying intention of those using it is to move the situation forward or to allow those who are having difficulties with moving forward time to come around.”

    But where this supposed ambiguity? The only serious ambiguity being cultured here is the crucial difference between a ‘government objective’ and a binding ‘deadline’. And it is Sinn Fein, not the DUP that’s trying to blur the difference: witness GA and his letter waving media marathon yesterday.

    One thing that unites the DUP this side of a successful negotiation, is the determination not to fall into the ambiguity trap. The frame of this current engagement compels them to do some kind of a deal, but only conditional on SF accepting the terms as offered. And those terms grant the DUP a veto over the devolution of policing and justice powers to Stormont.

    I am happy to be proved wrong in the long term, but the political pressure seems to be only one way at the moment.

    In some respects, though for quite different reasons, Sinn Fein has negotiated itself into a similar position as Trimble did back in November 1999. The original target date for decommissioning in May 2000 proved sufficiently flexible to allow the IRA to continue for another six years.

    If the Process™ back then handed control of the timing (though not the nature) of the outcome to the IRA, surely it can do the same in relation to the DUP?

  • Bruce101

    There is another way to look at this issue. Perhaps SF are in a better position because they have shed their dissenters. The DUP might avoid Trimble’s fate if they shake off the dirty dozen(or is it now ten) rather than allowing the nay sayers to constrain them.

  • qubol

    Mick “The only serious ambiguity being cultured here is the crucial difference between a ‘government objective’ and a binding ‘deadline’”
    But even if we accept the idea it being a government objective we have Paisley “welcoming” statements when Tony Blair talks about May 2008 but when asked will he work to that date, well no-one knows. Thats ambiguous.

    One of reasons that the DUP can wallpaper over the cracks for now is that they can say one thing in negotiations and another to the party/public. Sinn Fein however don’t have that luxury – they have to go to an AF so everything has to come out in Public. However, if Sinn Fein pass the AF motion then we’ll see the DUP’s metal. I don’t think anyone can claim that the position on devolution of senior DUP members is the same. Would Robinson or Donaldson be happy to be railroaded down the road of policing test nonsense by Allister and Co? I doubt it.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Mick

    you can play the deselection card as many times as you like. Now of course you are preaching to the converted but no matter how many times you talk of dissent etc you are still plainly wrong.

    Adams has the backing of the entire SF political leadership. Not one member of that leadership has queried anything he said. Just iover a week ago paisley made a statement on the devolution plans and responding positively. Within an hour 5 senior members of the DUP issued their own statements at odds with the Paisley statement with varying degrees of obduracy. That is a fact and points to divisions within the upper echelons of the DUP

  • Billy

    Mick

    While I totally agree that Sinn Fein have major internal difficulties (policing was always going to be their rubicon), I cannot believe your sugar coated interpretation that the DUP don’t have any real problems.

    It is clear from Peter Hain’s interview yesterday that elements within the DUP are already viewed by the UK govt as being disinterested in progress and don’t want to share power with Nationalists.

    Why are the statements from Robinson, Donaldson and the Paisleys being released through official DUP press channels and those from Allister, Simpson, Campbell, Dodds, McCrea and Morrow are not?

    Why are these statements almost always contradictory?

    The DUP is (and always has been) excellent at dealing with dissent internally due to Paisley’s grip on the party and the strong influence of the Free P church.

    However, both Paisley’s influence and that of the Free P’s is waining.

    Apart from the dispute over power sharing, it is clear that major DUP figures are also setting out their stalls to take over the leadership from Paisley (who turns 81 in 3 months). Is it any coincidence that Dodds has been noticably more hard line sine the Hearts & Minds poll put him at only 4th choice to succeed Paisley – behind Jeffrey Donaldson?

    There are also a few old scores being settled – Allister is really up for that. He dropped out in the 80’s after being denied a Westminster seat. This time he wants the North Antrim seat but was “persuaded” to run for Europe because Paisley wants to give the North Antrim seat to his son.

    This is also causing problems in North Antrim. It is obvious that Paisley junior would be as ineffective in Westminster as he is anywhere else while Allister (while hardline) is an accomplished lawyer and public speaker. There are many in North Antrim DUP who would rather have Allister than Paisley jnr.

    I am not a Sinn Fein member, supporter or voter but I believe that they will sign up to policing. It will cost them some NI votes in the short run but it’s the smart political move. It will remove any remaining obstacles in the US and the major obstacle to gaining support in the RoI. All the pressure will then be on the DUP.

    This govt will still be in place in May 2008 and, despite the “dreams” of some Unionists – Gordon Brown is hardly going to reverse all the work done by Tony Blair, Bertie Ahern, Albert Reynolds, David Trimble, Gerry Adams, John Hume, Bill Clinton and John Major in the glare of the world’s media.

    There is no doubt that Sinn Fein have (as they see it) a bitter pill to swallow at the moment which will have some unpleasant after effects.

    However, this “jump” was always going to have to be taken some point. I believe they should and will do so at the end of this month.

    If they can keep their party together with as few defections as possible, ALL the pressure from the UK, US and RoI govts will be on the DUP.

    The DUP backwoodsmen don’t want Sinn Fein to support policing – they realise the pressure they will then be subjected to. Why do you think their recent staements have been clearly designed to make it harder for Gerry Adams to sell policing to his members?

    If you really think that the DUP don’t have any problems coming their way (particularly if Sinn Fein sign up to policing), I think you are deluding yourself.

  • Mick Fealty

    q,

    “If Sinn Fein pass the AF motion then we’ll see the DUP’s metal.”

    I agree. That’s one reason why anyone claiming to have reliable reports of splits the DUP is taking poetic license to its credible limits. That is not to say we won’t. We’ve just have not reached the ‘DUP Mettle Test’ yet.

    Pat,

    I am not playing cards, just trying to discern what’s going on (however imperfectly). And I am not pretending any especial insight into SF’s difficulties. Whatever they are, it is likely that the base strength will largely remain after this ‘crisis’.

    But whatever the reality, their position appears to be much the tougher of the two, given they are promising things to that base that do not appear to be on offer. But then, as I have always reminded people, this is about negotiation ‘up to, through, and beyond’ any deal.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Mick

    ‘That’s one reason why anyone claiming to have reliable reports of splits the DUP is taking poetic license to its credible limits.’

    These is no need for poetic license, the DUP are split from top to bottom.

    A large number of the MLA’s and the MEP are openly opposed, 3 Ballymena and 1 Limavady councillors at a Bob McCartney meeting are happy to have their photographs with him published. The majority of the members in Paisely’s heartland are opposed to any deal which includes SF. A sizeable section of the FP’s are opposed to it, see Rev Foster.

    Where is the poetic license?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Mick,

    agreed, There has been a recognition of ‘pain’ all round. SF will face theis’s now or in the next few weeks. While the DUP have been living on the ambiguity of the SAA their pain will eventually spill out into the open.

  • Mick Fealty

    Where is the poetic license? You are working a plausible theory up from your own axiomatic assumption that the DUP will face a similar fate to the UUP. Now it might. But in my view, the proper response at this stage is scepticism until it shows in the ‘bloods’, so to speak.

    As Pat says, SF is under the kosh now. And it would be naive or even foolish to stop observing how that turns out to start speculating about what remains a future event. We will see what way things fall out, if and when it comes to the DUP’s turn to take the real pressure.

    Only a move from SF on policing can force such a turn of events, though probably not on the terms GA is currently seeking. The rest is interesting, but speculative and more properly resides in the poetic realm of ‘what if’?

  • qubol

    Mick: “Only a move from SF on policing can force such a turn of events, though probably not on the terms GA is currently seeking. The rest is interesting, but speculative and more properly resides in the poetic realm of ‘what if’?”

    That might be true if you view events within the DUP solely as a response to proposed devolution but its more than that – its also a play for the leadership as Billy pointed out. Even if Sinn Fein dont test the DUP’s mettle this time any future leadership contest most certainly will – and that is not not within the realm of ‘if’ but rather ‘when’

  • McBurney

    Would Robinson or Donaldson be happy to be railroaded down the road of policing test nonsense by Allister and Co? I doubt it.

    Let’s remember it was Robinson who first coined the phrase of policing powers being devolved being a ‘political lifetime’ away. Does no-one else remember Robinson, after Dodds made headlines with the ‘political lifetime’ tag, boasting on the news that it was him who first came up with this idea? Allister and co are only publicising the worries of their constituents, is that not what they’re meant to do? Have any of the so-called hardliners actually broke rank and broken the much-publicised and unanimous Party Executive ruling of early November?

    Let’s also remember what was promised by the Leadership during the consultation process: that there would be additional consultations with members before the March deadline, when the Party’s ‘work-in-progress’ would be complete and the full deal would be before us.

    There are also a few old scores being settled – Allister is really up for that. He dropped out in the 80’s after being denied a Westminster seat. This time he wants the North Antrim seat but was “persuaded” to run for Europe because Paisley wants to give the North Antrim seat to his son.

    This is also causing problems in North Antrim. It is obvious that Paisley junior would be as ineffective in Westminster as he is anywhere else while Allister (while hardline) is an accomplished lawyer and public speaker. There are many in North Antrim DUP who would rather have Allister than Paisley jnr.

    Certainly Paisley does seem to be losing his grip on North Antrim, and one would suspect that if he’s losing support there then he must be Province-wide. I know of many members in North Antrim who want the MEP to come to their rescue and put off Junior for another while.

  • P.S. Moderator – Could you please remove comment No.9? Although I agree with the gist of what the post says, I wish the individual concerned would use their own identity rather than hiding behind sock puppets. Maybe he/she should try and use the right URL before impersonating me next time!

    – Thanks

  • Mick,

    This is surreal! The person posting at 10.33pm is not me. Remarkably they are objecting to a previous post related to me in some way! I have no idea what was being objected to, by the way!

    What is it with Slugger and DV impersonators!

  • Bruce101

    There must be some very sick people around. Imagine anyone wanting to impersonate DV!!