Is Paisley ready to say ‘goodbye to all that’?

Peter Taylor has a piece in the Guardian in which he notes the remarkable 5% default rate against the Ard Comhairle’s pro-policing motion. Remarkable indeed, if it were for the haemorrhaging of the unreconstructed anti PSNI element before the vote. However, Taylor notes that some pressure (if only emotional) is bound to come upon the DUP as to whether it is ready to make peace:


  • seabhac siúlach

    “…the remarkable 5% default rate against the Ard Comhairle’s pro-policing motion…”

    Yes, there has been a lot spoken about this 95% figure…a figure plucked from the air based on a television image of raised hands, a remarkable feat of statistics…

    From what I understand, each delegate at that special Ard Fheis was there representing their respective cumainn. Each cumann took a straight vote as to whether to support the policing motion. In that situation. cumainn where 51% (or 50.0001% or whatever) were in support would turn up at the Ard Fheis and vote for the pro-policing motion, even though 49% of that cumann were actually opposed. While this 51/49% divide is unlikely to have been the case anywhere, and I use it here as an example, it is certainly true that a large anti-policing minority could be hidden in the manner in which each cumann voted for the motion. Repeated all of the country, the actual apparently large vote in favour at the Ard Fheis could actually hide a substantial number of those against, perhaps up to 20% (a figure based on the recent Hearts & Minds poll, showing this percentage of Provo Sinn Feiners against policing)…

  • Mick Fealty

    Interesting. If that is the case (and it would be good to get clarification) it is actually hard to tell whether or not it was a near run thing at the base, or not.

  • overhere

    I thought this thread was about Paisley and his “goodbye to all that”

    Can he pull it off? I am not too sure. He has been the voice of objection for so many years,he may find the day to day running of the place mundane. After all setting water rates etc is not going to raise a rabble buring flags etc.

    Can he carry the die hards with him inside his party and church. Sinn Fein may have had a hard time over the policing issue much to certain sections of the populations enjoyment but I have yet to see an openness from any other political grouping in NI on hard issues.

    It is very easy to raise a mob about the enemy under the bed, a different story trying to convince people that they can no longer depend on handouts from over the water.

  • Dessertspoon

    It’s a concern. I mean all those DUP naysayers will have to start doing some work if the deal goes ahead. No more getting paid for doing nowt. Tough call for the Doc!!

  • Henry94

    I don’t doubt the DUP will do the deal. But I wonder will they run on that basis or try to ahve an each way bet.

  • Mick Fealty

    There’s nothing hard in in the system to stop them doing just that, so far as I can see Henry…

  • Yokel


    Pat McLarnon detailed that procedure to me a number of threads back in the run up to the conference and did say that if it was even a small majority in favour then the delegates sent (usually 2 or 3 according to Pat) would vote for the motion. Absolute majority calls the day even if it was mathematically 50.1% to 49.9%.

    At least thats how I understood it.

  • kadenza

    Each branch of SF is allowed two votes. The branch is typically made up of between 10 – 20 members. If 11 vote to support the motion, in varying degrees of enthuaism both delegates have to vote for the motion. Hence the hidden opposition to the motion.

    Also worth pointing out that the vote for the motion was held first, it was obvious that it was passed so perhaps a lot of delegates against the motion didn’t even bother to vote. Bear in mind that the central theme of the ard fheis speeches was not policing but a stress on unity. Delegates opposed to the motion after seeing the huge acceptance of the motion may have, for unity sake, decided simply not to register their opposition.

    Thats my take anyway on the 95%.

  • Yokel

    I think we can make too much of the rejectionist faction within the party. Not that it doesnt exist but it seems most of it has decided to stay within and fight their case.

    For one, I havent seen too many leave the party after the vote, no from reports anyway.

    Secondly, where it really matters is come election time. We’ll really see if there’s opposition in the voter base. The party can be relatively united and the voters can still give it a kick up the rear. Thats the acid test. If SF stay around the same levels or even fall slightly then the answer is still clear that they are carrying a voter base with them.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Is it really likely that a every single SF association are going to be split down the middle ? I would expect people from the same geographical area to vote roughly similarly based on local attitudes and, of course, local experience with the police.

    The real answers to all of this will come on March 7th. I feel that republicans are unlikely to vote for the sticks/irps/32cows/rsf, but are a lot more likely to abstain – take a look at the profile of turnouts in republican constituencies for the referendum in 1998.

  • Red Mist


    I think we can make too much of the rejectionist faction within the party. Not that it doesnt exist but it seems most of it has decided to stay within and fight their case…

    To be honest most of the people with major problems with the direction of SF have left already. Without going into specifics SF in South Derry & West Belfast have taken some huge hits. It has happened in other areas too but these are the two that I am most familiar with.

    Many within the party will even to this very day be unaware of much of these resignations. Many are firewalled from each other and only know what happens before their very eyes. Many are spun..personal reasons, etc.

    So the vote in Dublin the other day will be unrepresentative for many reasons. One worryign thing for people who want to see SF as dynamic body of highly politicised people will be disappointed to hear figures like a cummann with 26 members where only 6 turn up for the cummann vote on the motion (one district in Belfast). If I was an honest leader or a concerned voter this would not fill me with confidence.

  • smacs

    red mist. re sf resignations in west belfast

    you may or may not be right about that, this hurler on the ditch wouldn,t know
    but I do know that two sinn fein election workers were at my door 24 hours after the ard fheis meeting canvasing my vote in the forth coming election and I know that one of them had severe reservations about the psni. this is only an anecdotal obsevation. but may clear the mist from someones eyes golden oldie

  • Sean

    I think there are many on here trying to sew dissent and rebelion where none exists.

    Perhaps though if they are successful at telling everyone how no one is going to show up to vote it will get the real couch sitters out there voting. Perhaps the best election ploy Sinn Fein could use is fear of the loyalists, fear that came from the unionists themselves

  • Yokel

    Red Mist

    I an aware of rumblings out in the country, the South Derry area in particular but I have to say I’m a bit surprised over West Belfast.

    Can you elaborate?

    This isnt surprising and I suppose your experience lends credence to my view that there are people who are broadly rejectionist over the PSNI decision but willing to take the broad direction of the party but debate and push their case internally. It is likely to be the way with many in the DUP as well.

  • graduate

    Remember the Chinese curse- “may you live in interesting times”
    we’re certainly doing that and whether it turns out to be curse or blessing is going to be a while in the finding out, but at least we’ll not be bored while we’re waiting!
    For what it’s worth I think there’ll be a devolved administration at Stormont on March 26th- either that or I’ve lost money.
    Mind you, it’s all a bi surreal when you find the Catholic church and Orange Order speaking with one voice

  • Red Mist

    SMACS & Yokel,

    First off I am not getting at you SMACS because you were honest in sayign that you dont know and in this case neither do I fully. You will definitely find people who have ‘reservations’ but stay ‘on board’. As I say most of the strongest opinions are gone already, not all long gone by the way as people have been drifting away right up until the vote. There will be more, make no mistake about it.

    Yokel, unfortunately I cannot elaborate for you on this ocassion but needless to say it is true.

    Like you gents say time will tell. I do not believe SF will get hammered in this election as some propose, but they will take hits. Importantly many of the hits will be amongst the activists and traditional families, I hear them day and daily saying that SF have lost their votes. Serious stuff.

    This may be counter balanced by some new soft votes but they aren’t the workers nor the fighters. Is this a good trade?

    But crucially I think this is the start of a slide for SF within stauncher areas at least. The heartland. And if you lose your heart the rest shuts down eventually.

  • BeardyBoy

    I am also a don’t knower but I will say that I have been talking and most people who were up in arms (so to speak) before hand have decide to thole it.

    I, of course, totally reject it and support McGeough. But in truth I feel the call for unity is a strong persuader