DUP in strong position to do a deal…

Maurice Hayes has a quick run down on the election prospects for each party. Amongst other things, he thinks the SDLP had dropped the ball, in a strategic sense, in trying to outgreen Sinn Fein, who he reckons has done enough to satisfy the wider nationalist community, if not gain their vote. The DUP will continue to reap rewards, not least with the useful fiction that Sinn Fein could end up as the biggest party. But, Hayes asks, with they do a deal?

Sinn Fein certainly will, partly because they have nowhere else to go, partly to improve their image in the southern elections.

As for the DUP, most commentators agree that Dr Paisley, too, wants to settle affairs and to preside over a local administration. He will not say so before the election and will keep the heat on Sinn Fein on policing.

The period between election and March 26 may well be enough for the DUP to conclude that Sinn Fein have done enough to prove commitment. At that stage, Dr Paisley, holding signed letters of resignation from all his candidates, is in a strong position to do the deal.

  • Mick, there’s no link to the main article. Aren’t we all under pressure as the election looms large in the windscreen?

    he thinks the SDLP had dropped the ball, in a strategic sense, in trying to outgreen Sinn Fein, who he reckons has done enough to satisfy the wider nationalist community

    Maurice is the ultimate Castle Catholic (well, except maybe for me). Is there an opportunity for Alliance to get back some of the Castle Catholic vote they lost to Hume in the early ’90s?

    The period between election and March 26 may well be enough for the DUP to conclude that Sinn Fein have done enough to prove commitment.

    If they want to, there’s certainly wriggle room for them to do that.

  • Mick Fealty

    Sorry, was half way through the next post when I noticed…

  • kensei

    “Maurice is the ultimate Castle Catholic (well, except maybe for me). Is there an opportunity for Alliance to get back some of the Castle Catholic vote they lost to Hume in the early ‘90s?”

    No. Part of that vote undoubtedly included people who were Nationalist but didn’t want to be seen declaring themselves Irish or supporting a United Ireland in case people thought they supported the IRA. Hume didn’t just take those votes, he made those things more acceptable.

    An even if there was an opportunity, Alliance have done squat to chase it. The “greening” of the SDLP isn’t particularly extreme, and involves kicking SF a lot. People won’t switch until you give them a reason to – what has Alliance done?

  • Part of that vote undoubtedly included people who were Nationalist but didn’t want to be seen declaring themselves Irish or supporting a United Ireland in case people thought they supported the IRA

    In a secret ballot? That’s a particularly stupid point kensei. Well below your usual standards.

    That says “whatever way people vote, what they actually mean is that they agree with me.” It comes pretty close to saying people suffer from false consciousness.

  • kensei

    “In a secret ballot? That’s a particularly stupid point kensei. Well below your usual standards.

    That says “whatever way people vote, what they actually mean is that they agree with me.” It comes pretty close to saying people suffer from false consciousness. ”

    Maybe I haven’t particularly expressed myself well there. Whatever way you put it, Hume made being Irish and Nationalist more acceptable. It presented a Nationalism that was more open, more confident and appealed to more people. You can call that breaking false conciousness if you like. It was more than just taking votes, now also compounded by a generational gap.

    And I note, you have also avoided my point taht Alliance have done bugger all to chase the vote :).

  • Descendancy again

    Is it just me, or has ‘Sammy Morse’ become a lot snippier since adopting this nom de plume?

  • I’ve always had my snippy moments, descendency. To be fair, Kensei admitted he didn’t express himself well first time around.

    Kensei – I see your point better now; I’m not sure that Hume did make nationalism seem the more confident and attractive ideology. Unionist politicians were always more than capable of doing that without any help.

    What he did was give the SDLP a first-class statesman, and made the IRA wage peace. Well, actually I could disagree with both of those points but that was the perception. And he was very good at pointing out that the problem here wasn’t the border but a divided community – “it’s not the territory that’s divided, it’s the people that are divided”. Which is pretty much the centrepiece of Alliance belief.

    Now, Hume is gone, the Hume-Adams process is receding into history, and the SDLP are trying to out-Nationalist the Shinners, which sort of reminds me of those Charles Atlas “I used to be a seven stone weakling” adverts.

    You don’t win elections fighting yesterday’s battles and the SDLP are giving us space to move in on their ‘paler green’ flank.

    And I note, you have also avoided my point taht Alliance have done bugger all to chase the vote

    I think you’re misreading the bit of the SDLP vote Alliance is going for; it’s not a bit that is going to be won over by trying to out-green anyone. It’s a section of the electorate that is confident, liberal-minded, socially progressive, strongly committed to integrated communities and integrated education, and more interested in making this place work, and work fairly for everyone, than obsessing about outbreeding the Jaffas.

    Why do you think Anna Lo’s candidature was such a coup for Alliance? Why do you think we’re pushing stuff like integrated education and the cost of segregation? Partly, they’re what Alliance is about, but they’re core values that appeal to a section of the electorare that once voted Alliance and defected to the SDLP. The SDLP have seriously taken their eye off the ball on these issues. There’s a lot less talk about uniting the people, and a lot more about strategies for reuniting the territory from the SDLP these days.

    There’s space for us to win votes back from the SDLP here, a lot of it. And it’s a long term project.

  • PS – is this an all-time record for ‘thread drift’ in seven posts?

  • kensei

    “I think you’re misreading the bit of the SDLP vote Alliance is going for; it’s not a bit that is going to be won over by trying to out-green anyone. It’s a section of the electorate that is confident, liberal-minded, socially progressive, strongly committed to integrated communities and integrated education, and more interested in making this place work, and work fairly for everyone, than obsessing about outbreeding the Jaffas.”

    I’m not misreading it; I simply don’t think it has the size you think it does, and I certainly think it is smaller than than it was in 1992. You are also making two classic Alliance Assumptions:

    1. You are either concerned about the constitutional issue or bread and butter issues, but not both
    2. All the “pale green” vote is liberal.

    “Why do you think Anna Lo’s candidature was such a coup for Alliance? Why do you think we’re pushing stuff like integrated education and the cost of segregation? Partly, they’re what Alliance is about, but they’re core values that appeal to a section of the electorare that once voted Alliance and defected to the SDLP. The SDLP have seriously taken their eye off the ball on these issues. There’s a lot less talk about uniting the people, and a lot more about strategies for reuniting the territory from the SDLP these days.”

    I remain to be convinced about Anna Lo. A lot of hype and not, as yet, much substance. The election will tell, anyway. I also remain to be convinced that integrated schooling is a big vote winner amongst Catholics. There is a vocal group that should be served, but most Catholics have been through Catholic schooling and most enjoyed their time there. I know people of varying shades of Nationalist opinion from dissident republican to as pale green as you like and I can’t think of one where it is a big deal.

    The figures don’t lie. Alliance is absolutely moribund in largely Nationalist areas. Whatever it is Alliance is offering, it isn’t appealing to Nationalists.

    “There’s space for us to win votes back from the SDLP here, a lot of it. And it’s a long term project.”

    It would need to be. I remain to be convinced that you’ll really get anywhere while you are perceived as Unionism Lite. There has been space for the past decade, but you’ve come nowhere near capturing any of it.

  • I’ll happily return to the tread by pointing out the cynicism of the DUP. The DUP happily acquiesced in a provision in the St Andrews legislation that meant that if Sinn Fein was the largest by dint of split unionist seats in the next Assembly then it would have the right to nominate the First Minister. Any UUP bloggers will confirm that during the passage of the legislation Lord Trimble moved an amendment that would have prevented this possibility. The DUP peers abstained. Bob McCartney also pointed out the DUP’s reticence and accused them of creating the McGuinness Scarecrow to corral sceptical unionists into voting for them. However, it’s a scarecrow that could conceivably come to life if unionist votes are split either now or in the future.

    I think it’s time the DUP were honest. They could have made this StA clause a deal-breaker. But instead they have put the narrow interests of their party in front of the country – not for the first time and not for the last, I suspect.

    Come on, you Slugger DUPers, time to come clean.

  • Ace

    Watchman

    Have you checked the record on the vote in the Lords???

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200607/ldhansrd/text/61122-0009.htm

  • Greenflag

    Kensei,

    ‘Whatever way you put it, Hume made being Irish and Nationalist more acceptable.’

    True but not enough . The failure of the Sunningdale Agreement and seven years in the political wilderness plus the hunger strikers deaths and protests gave SF the political opening they needed to advance . The failure of the Trimble/Mallon power sharing has also helped to consolidate SF support.

    I suspect Alliance will do slightly better this time out but on balance with the sectarian demographics ‘narrowing’ both the DUP and SF will hold on to their strong majorities over their tribal ‘competitors the UUP and SDLP-IMHO.

  • Watchman – unless you think all six incarnations of Bob are going to be elected, along with two incarnations of Willie Frazer, both Cubitts and Clifford Peeples’ wife, there is no chance that Sinn Féin can emerge as the largest party in this election.

    Kensei – too tied up in work to give you the answer you deserve (in the nicest possible way), will get back to you this evening.

  • kensei

    “True but not enough . The failure of the Sunningdale Agreement and seven years in the political wilderness plus the hunger strikers deaths and protests gave SF the political opening they needed to advance . The failure of the Trimble/Mallon power sharing has also helped to consolidate SF support.”

    But the fundamental shift was only possible because SF adopted the language of Hume and took the power sharing mantle from the SDLP, but with a more muscular and more confident Nationalism. The SDLP have shifted greener in response to getting crushed because of the “post Nationalism” nonsense.

  • lib2016

    Unionism, including Alliance which is seen as Unionism-lite as Kensei has pointed out, is still paying the price for endorsing Trimble’s intransigence.

    Younger nationalists didn’t just get fed up with endlessly waiting for an Executive but also got fed up with the whole NI setup.

    This Sinn Fein leadership is the last chance unionism has for devolved government in NI from either London or Dublin. Personally I support them but if they don’t deliver powersharing then I believe the fact that NI cannot become a functioning entity will have to be faced and a new SF leadership will emerge.

    The reason why the SDLP can no longer ‘sell’ powersharing is that their leadership is not held in such respect since Mallon and Hume left. They are no longer able to lead and must follow the feeling on the ground which overwhelmingly rejects Stormont.

  • BeardyBoy

    If I was in the SDLP I would continue to bury the post nationalist mistake.

    They need to be seen as stronger on the border.

    They need to stop attacking SF.

    I would propose a more active strategy.

    1. Oppose abortion, and other liberal moral policies which SF are either attached to or are diplomatically silent on – this would push SF to either openly promote or oppose abortion thus creating rifts in their support

    2. Oppose State interference in schooling – this is in effect defending catholic schooling, gaelic schooling and integrated schooling. But say that gaelic schooling should get preferential treatment under European support for minority languages, as weel as Ulster Scots schools as we dinnae hae a bigoted bone in oor boodees.

    3. Push for full speaking and voting rights in the Dail for all ministers of the assembly

    4. Stop attacking SF, concentrate on the Unionists

    And so on, neatly steal the SF clothing and present it in such a way that it can be said to be traditional SDLP policy. Then if they also campaign on these issues welcome their contribution to the campaign. They should then attract back the more Catholic vote without alienating the more socialist vote.