DUP manifesto launches…

At the moment the DUP are launching their manifesto in Belfast. You can find it here online. We’ll come back to it when the Panel’s remarks are online for a more in depth analysis of the content, but the first thing that strikes you is the contrast in detail with the UUP’s policy rich output. It’s absolutely clear that for the DUP this is about selling the contents of deal. Although some of the proffered content is more solid than others:Take the section marked: RECTIFYING FUNDAMENTAL FLAWS IN THE BELFAST AGREEMENT

Terrorists in Government: We have made it clear no party linked to those involved in paramilitary or criminal activity will be in an Executive. Indeed, to be a Minister it will be necessary to take a pledge of office to support the police.

This is number one, both because it is the most important clause, and the most substantial. The IRA have decommissioned, and Sinn Fein are in the throws of recognising the PSNI. It’s a strong sell!

Unaccountable Executive: Under the changes we demanded, all significant Ministerial decisions will have to be agreed by the Executive, the Assembly can refer matters back to the Executive for decision, and there is a new statutory duty in the Ministerial Code to act in accordance with decisions of the Assembly.

Hmm.. now these changes have taken place. There is some nervousness within Unionism at the liberalising of the choice of First and Deputy First Ministers. Yet on the face of it that could be seen as a liberalising measure. There is also a sense that some of this may have arisen from the review process naturally.

Inability to deliver coherent Government: All Ministers will be bound by decisions of the Executive allowing a more coherent administration.Ministers will no longer be able to act alone, in narrow party interests.

Or in other words, others will not be able to do what the DUP once did to the UUP and the other pro Belfast Agreement parties. A deft pulling up of the ladder, but a logic move towards better governance, one would hope. Though it calls into question what use any individual manifesto will be when the PR policy cattle market is subject to the views of four separate party focuses.

Now we get to the puffy end of the seven. It’s not clear, to me at least, that these last four would not have happened with the restoration of the Assembly:

Unaccountable all-Ireland implementation bodies: There will be a review of all-Ireland implementation bodies. All decisions concerning these bodies will be for the Executive to take.

NSMC – stand alone all-Ireland Government: Under the new law all NSMC decisions will be for the Executive and subject to unionist control.

Freelance unaccountable North South co-operation: Under the new law all North South co-operation will be accountable to the Executive where the DUP have a veto.

Imbalance between north/south and east/west relationships: Because of the new accountability arrangements, the DUP can ensure in office that there is balance in these arrangements.

  • interested

    It would seem that the DUP have decided that on the ‘real’ issues they are not going to to overboard promising things that they couldn’t or wouldn’t end up being able to deliver.

    The UUP have bowed to every (even conflicting) interest group in an attempt to sweep up any possible votes.

    A real manifesto for Government doesnt promise everything under the sun but things which can actually be delivered and most importantly which there actually is money there to provide.

    For all the supposed media focus on ‘bread and butter’ issues they usually dont actually have the capacity to cut through the usual promises that everything can be delivered and to paraphrase Barry McElduff “the money will be found somewhere” (down the back of the sofa one presumes).

  • wu

    Talk about a total commitment-free zone – free ice-cream and lollipops for everybody, with no explanation of how any of it can be achieved without devolved government.

    And no commitment on whether they’ll even go into government or not, I mean come on, March 26th is just a few weeks away, they’ll have to do better than this!

    My favourite is when they promise “massive investment” in infrastructure with no indication whatsoever of what they mean by “massive” – I mean we talking £10m, £100m, a few billion??

    I would have expected better, guess this is a sign of how divided the DUP really are that they had to release something as weak as this to hold their party together…

  • kensei

    “My favourite is when they promise “massive investment” in infrastructure with no indication whatsoever of what they mean by “massive” – I mean we talking £10m, £100m, a few billion??”

    Maybe they are referring to the billion euro the Republic pledged?

  • interesting

    “The UUP have bowed to every (even conflicting) interest group in an attempt to sweep up any possible votes.

    A real manifesto for Government doesnt promise everything under the sun but things which can actually be delivered and most importantly which there actually is money there to provide. ”

    Yes because ignoring the vasty knowledge and experience of the community and voluntary sector in Northern Ireland is a much better way to go. DUPs seem more interesting in gay bashing in this document that any new ideas giving an indicator that they are fit for government. The overwhelming impression one gets from reading this document is that they are not and are more interested in beating their orange drums to get more of their old supporters on board.

    A poor effort, pages and pages of pics and fluff.

  • Greenflag

    Radio Ireland

    Question :

    ‘What’s the difference between the DUP policy manifesto and a roll of toilet paper’?

    Answer :

    ‘You can at least wipe your arse with toilet paper ‘

  • interested

    “Yes because ignoring the vasty(sic) knowledge and experience of the community and voluntary sector in Northern Ireland is a much better way to go.”

    They havent ignored them – simply selected some issues and put them forward as priorities. Actually taking everything they suggest forward isn’t possible and even they would agree with that.

    At least the DUP can come back after any Government has been set up and say they have been able to deliver on their manifesto. How exactly would the community and voluntary sector feel after having been promised everything but had nothing delivered. Frankly I think they have enough intelligence to realise that we cant have free everything for everybody and to promise that is simply to decieve the electorate and yourself.

    The “massive investment” as far as I know is surrounding the financial package which only the DUP are putting real pressure on the Government to deliver. They know that all of the other parties will trot happily into Government with whatever crumbs are thrown at them – hardly a strong negotiating position. Also sensible not to name figures when you’re negotiating – you don’t tell the ‘opposition’ what you would settle for is in a negotiating process. But then, we wouldn’t expect Ulster Unionist to know that. We’ve seen the fruits of their negotiations all to frequently.

  • sooty

    What interests me is that they mention the Ulster Unionist Party 16 times in the manifesto yet otherwise claim they are irrelevant….

  • interesting

    “How exactly would the community and voluntary sector feel after having been promised everything but had nothing delivered. Frankly I think they have enough intelligence to realise that we cant have free everything for everybody and to promise that is simply to decieve the electorate and yourself. ”

    Ah bless, you are very pessimistic there young son. If we were to get devolution sometime this decade you might see what could be achieved through people working together. Most of what the UUP suggest has been proven to be possible from practises in Scotland and Wales.

    The proposals have been costed and are possible, we just need to be able to implement them instead of government by grumpy babysitter aka Direct Rule.

    Although this is all an aside, this is a manifesto meant to court the hardliners, hence one mere sentence on tackling rascism and a section on gay bashing.

  • wu

    The gay-bashing bit was disgraceful, but the worst bit is the page at the start written by Jim Allister and Willie McCrea and holding the whole prospect of devolution hostage to the whims of old grey DUP hardliners…

    Kind of makes the rest of the manifesto pretty pointless if they can’t even say they’re going into government in 3 weeks time or not!!

    With the UUP you know where you are, whilst with the DUP you only ever know where you aren’t…

  • realist

    Its amazing the way some people are talking about the UUP like they could actually have a revival of their fortunes and get back into the pompous and arrogant position that they enjoyed, and sometimes abused, for many long years. Its not going to happen. They are yesterday’s people. Its got to be remembered that they messed up big time when they had the power. What I find hard to understand is how they were torn apart by leadership votes over their relationship with the shinners. The hardliners all switched camp to the DUP. What they are now proposing to do is far worse than anything the UUP ever proposed but wee Jeffrey and Arlene seem happy enough now to go along with it all. That must be what a wiff of office does to you! I don’t think that the DUP really know what to do about 26th March. In the meantime they are talking tough but not too tough that they can’t find some form of words to justify going into an executive in March. They will go in sometime but will they risk lossing the prize. Beware that the brits don’t run out of patience and pull the plug on it all. Imagine being an elected MLA without a salary. I doubt if one of the ones I know would have a days work left in them if they went back to the real world.
    The only thing about all the manifestoes is that no one has promised a new kitchen sink for everyone and a free bet with Eastwoods not to mention £150 of holiday vouchers.