The real enemy of the DUP

Henry Patterson in this weeks Sunday Life, with an interesting analysis of the DUP, their recent u-turns and their real motivation.

But Paisley’s real enemy throughout his almost 60 year political career has not been nationalism, republicanism or the IRA but the Ulster Unionist Party. His present acceptance of the structures of the 1998 Agreement, which he so bitterly denounced, is clear evidence of this. Being top dog of unionism was what it was all about whatever the long-term implications for the Union.

The large group of Shinners who were celebrating in Stormont post-ceremony were unlikely to be doing so because they believed that they had seen the end of ‘push-over Unionism’.

  • fair_deal

    I read this on Sunday and was disappointed. Was the analysis dumbed down for the Sunday Life readership? It isn’t particualrly interesting or new.

    It has two core flaws;
    1. The inability to overcome predetermined stereotypical assessments of Paisley, the DUP and their core support leads to a reliance on sour grapes.
    2. The inability to admit there were significant flaws/ommissions in the Belfast Agreement that had to be dealt with.

  • Michael Shilliday

    Your analysis ignores that Paisley has totally accepted the structures of the Agreement, as well as the fact that the DUP have solved next to none of the problems that existed, they simply added to them.

  • fair_deal

    Please “define structures of the Agreement”

  • Michael Shilliday

    Ad nauseum? Semantics wont do it, the DUP have signed up to the agreement, that is what the facts bare out.

  • lib2016

    Paisley believed that he would be betrayed by the unionist middleclass just as he considers that O’Neill & the Anglo-Irish gentry had previously betrayed Ulster unionism.

    He went into powersharing because he believed there was no alternative to trusting in his own community to find the best way forward for themselves. He is right in all those beliefs, which are of course very close to those of Sinn Fein.

    Unionism, founded on a dependency culture as it is, has no future. It will be interesting to see what alternative vision evolves.

  • fair_deal

    If you don’t want to debate fine but don’t start one then take umbrage at a simple question.

    As you won’t answer the question here is an answer.
    1. The DUP outlined a series of changes they wanted to the Agreement in their 2003 Assembly manifesto and got the electorate’s endorsement for that. Of the list of things they wanted they deemed they got enough in St Andrews. These changes required legislation in Parliament. So it wasn’t the 1998 structures.
    2. The amount of difference between the 1998 and 2007 structures is like a debate about beauty, it is all in the eye of the beholder and invariably ends up as your second post did with a pantomime response of oh yes it is.
    3. Whether these changes are for good or ill the implementation of them will tell.

    The DUP made and seem to have sold a deal. The UUP didn’t. The UUP can metaphorically jump up and down throw dummies out of prams etc about the unfairness of these present poltical realties but it is a waste of energy and I cannot see how it assists the growth of the UUP.

  • Michael Shilliday

    That is nonsence. Is the Assembly a continuation of the 1998 one? Is the Executive? The North-Southery? The dressed up petition of concern? The corss community “veto”?

    It is all the same with some window dressing that the DUP claim creates a new departure.

  • fair_deal

    MS

    As I said
    “2. The amount of difference between the 1998 and 2007 structures is like a debate about beauty, it is all in the eye of the beholder and invariably ends up as your second post did with a pantomime response of oh yes it is.”

    My apologies for having the temerity to hold a different opinion to HP and your good self.

  • Michael Shilliday

    So you claim that the changes are “all in the eye of the beholder”, yet are also antirely different from the 1998 ones? That doesn’t make sense.

  • fair_deal

    I am afraid your confusion appears to be stem from something I didn’t say. I never said the 2007 and 1998 strcutures were “antirely different”.

    I said there were legislative changes to the 1998 structures. Therefore the 1998 structures weren’t “totally accepted”. The “amount of difference” between those is in the “eye of the beholder” – some will consider them substantive others will not (usually depending on their poltical allegiance). You consider them to be insignificant or detrimental, the likes of aughavey considers them substantial.

    From the direction of this conversation I have a naggin suspicion if you’d answered my earlier question civilly we would have a number of points of agreement.

  • Michael Shilliday

    But they’re not substancial. The only thing that was changed to any extent was the method of selecting the Fm and DFM, which is now dangerous.

    I did answer your question civilly, I was just not prepared to answer what could almost have been a rhetorical question. The structures have been accepted, which is what Henry said.

  • fair_deal

    Claiming a question was “ad nauseam” and “semantics” reiterating your original comment and refusing to answer the question is not generally considered a civil response to a civil question.

  • Michael Shilliday

    Actually I was asking if you wanted me to recite the structures of the agreement ad nauseum. It would be semantic to suggest that the minimal changes to the structures constituted new structures.

  • páid

    It strikes me that Paisley takes a longer view of Irish history than most modern-day Unionists. I suspect he never bought the ‘British as Finchley’ line, but rather, has always been interested in a Protestant redoubt in Ireland.
    He now knows he will die with Protestants secure in Ireland, and with the Catholic church in seemingly terminal decline throughout Ireland, he is relaxed enough about the middle term.

    History may be kind to him, in securing solid space for Protestant values in Ireland, instead of barking up the alternative tree – the shrinking iceberg of UK integrationism (apologies for horribly mixed metaphors).

    It might end up as a united Ireland Jim, but not as you’d know it.

  • fair_deal

    Thank you for clarifying the non-answer. However, it remains a non-answer. You used a particular phraseology that I simply asked you to explain.

    I have learnt to avoid assumptions on slugger hence my caution in putting my interpretation on what you meant and asking for your definition.

    There also seems to be an underlying assumption in your comments that you seem to consider me a big fan of all this. I would remind you I wrote at length of my issues with St Andrews.

    My criticisms of the article was not motivated out of a love for all this but disappointment at the poverty of the analysis. Lots of commentators have had a difficulty with understanding what and why Paisley and the DUP did what they did and how come the Unionist community voted for it. It was against the stereotype but rather than addressing their previous assumptions they simply go for a bashing exercise. Plus an underlying implication that ‘political nirvana’ was achieved in 1998 (or 1974) etc etc. It wasn’t.

    However, all of this is a pre-election argument not a post election one. (The people have spoken, the bastards) 😉 It could still have been employed if the UUP had chosen opposition, but that boat has sailed.

  • Henry Patterson’s analysis is spot on. Paisley is the ‘ethnic entrepreneur’ to beat them all.

    The so called ‘conflict’ has been prolonged and shaped by the multiple ‘intra communal’ conflicts and competitions for hegemoncy, control and control within Unionism (and to some extent within nationalism/republicanism).

    Whatever the stated ‘principles’ and ‘objections’ of Paisley over the years, these were, for the most part, shaped and constructed in order to gain ground in a cynical manipulation of voters for narrow political objectives.

    One might argue that we should expect nothing more. However, in a conflict where lives are being destroyed, even party politicians have exceptional responsibilities.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Paid

    I think you’re correct in identifying that there are many different kinds of unionist, and that Paisley is a unionist of an altogether different stripe to, say, David Trimble.

    It seems to me that whereas Trimble is an actual unionist (ie the union is sacred, his British identity is total and all points south of the border are genuinely “foreign”), Paisley represents a different tradition. I think Paisley has always seen himself more as a Protestant in hostile Catholic territory. He has often referred to himself as an Irishman – I simply couldn’t imagine Trimble doing that.

    It might also explain why, even in the darkest days, many Irish people retained for the cussed oul’ bollix a “sneaking regard” (his own immortal phrase). Because there’s something about him which is familiar, whereas there’s something ineffably alien about Trimble. Because though Paisley is different, he’s also recognisably one of our own, in a way Trimble isn’t.

    For Paisley, I suspect, unionism has been and remains a policy, not a principle. The receding of the Catholic Church’s authority in the rest of Ireland is bound to have had an effect on his thinking.

    I suspect that whereas accepting a united Ireland would simply be beyond Trimble’s comprehension in all circumstances, a unified Ireland in which Protestants had a secure space of their own (whether that’s in political, social, geographical, cultural, psychological terms, you decide) might be one Paisley could be reconciled with.

  • patrique

    Surprised to see Big Ian portrayed as a left wing, working class, Socialist man of the people in one post.

    The Brits, Yanks, Europeans, and Irish involved in the process were always aiming towards a DUP/Sinn Fein finish, the only thing that could possibly work. Big Ian had been pensioned of for the “more moderate forward thinking” Peter Robinson. That’s how The Guardian described him.

    However just as republicanism has always been undermined by the split, Unionism/loyalism has always been undone by the “Lundy” taunt. Robinson was not “big” enough to pull it off, so the big man had to be brought back.

    Who is going to call Big Ian a Lundy? A couple of deluded Ballymena councillors and a few illiterate moron hoods, but that’s it.

    Now that he has accomplished his task, he can retire in about six months.

  • páid

    Agree with that BP.

    Paisley is a child of the bitterness of the Plantation. He’s rooted in Ulster’s disputed fields. Trimble, and most younger Unionists are more British, or UKish perhaps. The Border has had social and cultural effects; everything from accents to outlooks have diverged.

    It’s at it’s HW mark now though, I suspect.

  • “I suspect that whereas accepting a united Ireland would simply be beyond Trimble’s comprehension in all circumstances, a unified Ireland in which Protestants had a secure space of their own (whether that’s in political, social, geographical, cultural, psychological terms, you decide) might be one Paisley could be reconciled with.”

    Cross reference this with the Prospect essay of Mick’s which cited, about Paisley, that:

    “(around 1971)…Paisley, uncharacteristically, seemed open to the possibility of new political directions. Cecil King, chairman of the Daily Mirror and one of Paisley’s few friends within the London media, noted how he wavered between wanting to keep the status quo, visualising himself as the next prime minister of Northern Ireland, and even accepting a federal Ireland.”

    This is what disgusted me the most about a man who had issued out of his big mouth some tacit comments spiked to incite hate, stoke fear and predict the worst world ever possible to protestants.

    Is Michael Shilliday vindicated – sure he is. It is the same old deal only the DUP has pretended that it is something fresh and fair, I mean, come on “Getting It Right” – whats the ‘it’ for? Used because they can’t say GFA1998.

    I am no ultra nationalist – either that of UUP/DUP/SF/SDLP but a true Unionist – one belonging to the European Union and including a workable union with Britain and Ireland through new cross-border legislation available to Northern Ireland.

    A new Northern Ireland to include British and Irish and other European cultures through integral interlinking constitutional partnerships, with policy served up to the Assembly to be considered by it alone as to whether it should be taken on.

  • Observer

    In essence the DUP have accepted the foundations of the Belfast Agreement. However fundamental changes have occured and this has been accepted by the Unionist people.

    Thats why 36 DUP MLA’s were returned compared with 16 (or was it 17!?) UUP MLA’s. Also Bob McCartneys’ anti-Paisleyites failed in their campaign; hence why Paisley did the deal so quickly.

    The Belfast Agreement was never accepted by the Unionist people in 1998. That is where a referendum is flawed and only added to the spin. Hence that is also why the DUP opted for a straight forward election in March.

    Maybe the UUP should move on and fight on the issues that matter to people. After all, do they not support the structures as setup by the ‘St. Andrew’s Agreement’?

    What disturbs me is the dishonesty of many within the DUP… however thats politics – something that Northern Ireland isn’t indifferent about.

    The underlying element within the DUP is that they are a party of talent. They sold it to the people unlike the UUP.

    Its a long road ahead. I remain a sceptic. However I hope devolution benefits our people.

  • “The Belfast Agreement was never accepted by the Unionist people in 1998. That is where a referendum is flawed and only added to the spin. Hence that is also why the DUP opted for a straight forward election in March.”

    But better stay to the facts about this, the GFA was overwhelmingly endorsed so it goes, but the fact is the DUP having voiced their concerns didn’t make any headway into the issues they raised specifically as going concerns at the time.

    They didn’t do anything about Anglo-Irish-Agreement, Good Friday Agreement, walk-outs.

    But they are good ethnic wind up merchants…OH IT WAS THE WORST DEAL FOR THE PRODS – ITS THE BITTER END OF THE UNION -DISGRACE!!!

    Yeah yeah yeah – sure thing Paisley.

    Now – I’m off to visit Sean Kelly, so see if your St Andrew’s Agreement can stop me from doing that and be sure to sit down with ex-terrorists in the NSMC, the DUPs policy was principle and when you lose that you lose integrity.

  • It was Sammy McNally what done it

    Given that the similarities between the STA and GFA far outweigh the differences and even allowing for Provo disarmament there can be no doubt that Paisley’s denunciation of Trimble for signing up to the GFA now looks completely opportuinist.

    On the issue of the 2 agreements – does anybody think that the change to the way Stormont can be dissolved in the STA is a Nationalist gain over the GFA?

  • John East Belfast

    fair deal

    “The DUP made and seem to have sold a deal”

    and

    Observer

    “They sold it to the people unlike the UUP”

    As the DUP’s Sales skills have been mentioned twice on this thread I have to challenge this myth.

    The DUP “sold” nothing.

    Firstly they didnt have to fight a viscious unionist rear guard action both within and without like the UUP did.

    Secondly by the time they had their deal the Provos had eventually delivered Decommissioning.

    Thirdly the majority of the unionist electorate had eventually woken up to the soundness of the original UUP strategy as it eventually delivered 2 above and they saw peace and prosperity all around them – including a 50% increase in their house prices in the last 12 months alone.

    Fourthly a huge proportion of the DUP electorate are unable to think independently for themselves (as per Ian Jnr) and if it is good enough for Doctor Paisley then it is good enough for them.

    They have been selling a pup for years.

  • It was Sammy McNally what done it

    John East Belfast

    I agree with you on the substance of your arguement – but not on the ‘sales’ issue – which is old english for ‘spin’.

    You have to hand it to the DUP – they did a brilliant spin job – Tony himself would have been proud. Afterall he sold Thatcher’s economic policy as New Labour’s the same way as the DUPers sold Sinn Fein/SDLP/Irish governement policy of the GFA as the Unioinst STA.

  • John East Belfast

    Sammy

    We will have to agree to disagree then – I just think by 2006 the whole thing had gathered its own momentum like a downhill snowball that gathered up everyone in its path – McCartney et al.

    The DUP just had to keep up – indeed if they were doing anything they were trying to slow it down and then at the last minute fell under it themselves.

    ie they werent spinning/selling anything to the unionist electorate – even at the Assembly Election where it couldnt be nailed down what they were going to do post election.

  • GavBelfast

    Trimble himself and his very low key, even fairly gracious response ecent events and to his ground having been gazumped by Paisley lends credence to the view that he has been vindicated (in much the same way that Hume has been for the work he started in the late 1980s and arguably before).

    It may be nine years later, but the two Nobel Prize Winners have fully earned their award now. Their slow-learning proteges can reap the rewards of office, having adopted the principles.

  • GavBelfast

    Trimble himself and his very low key, even fairly gracious response to recent events and to his ground having been gazumped by Paisley lends credence to the view that he has been vindicated (in much the same way that Hume has been for the work he started in the late 1980s and arguably before).

    It may be nine years later, but the two Nobel Prize Winners have fully earned their award now. Their slow-learning proteges can reap the rewards of office, having adopted the principles.

    (Sorry for repost – I do wish there was an edit facility for awful typists.)

  • Frustrated Democrat

    I think it is generally accepted that the STA is the GFA with a coat of whitewash as cover for the DUP, any changes were purely cosmetic and often not in favour of Unionism.

    Then truth is Paisley always saw the UUP as the enemy not SF or the SDLP, they were the ‘friends’ he needed to attack the UUP. The error of the UUP was not to see the DUP as the enemy but instead SF.

  • Peter Brown

    Let’s really challenge some myths JEB

    “The DUP “sold” nothing.

    Firstly they didnt have to fight a viscious unionist rear guard action both within and without like the UUP did.”

    The reason there was a rearguard action within was DT keept insisting on jumping first – as you correctly point out below if he had held his nerve he would have achieved what the DUP has and still be First Minister and not broken his promises and irreparably damaged the UUP.

    “Secondly by the time they had their deal the Provos had eventually delivered Decommissioning.”

    Don’t disagree – they waited for PIRA to jump first (see above)

    “Thirdly the majority of the unionist electorate had eventually woken up to the soundness of the original UUP strategy as it eventually delivered 2 above and they saw peace and prosperity all around them – including a 50% increase in their house prices in the last 12 months alone”

    So why didn’t they vote UUP – they woke up to the benefits of peace and realised only the DUP had any chance of bringing stability as DT’s Executive was always going to be hokey cokey while he jumped first and set ultimatums and deadlines

    “Fourthly a huge proportion of the DUP electorate are unable to think independently for themselves (as per Ian Jnr) and if it is good enough for Doctor Paisley then it is good enough for them.”

    Remember all of that electorate and many of the recent converts are former UUP voters who thought independently and turned their backs on the UUP because of the arrogance you are currently displaying – everyone is out of step except me and the divine right to be the largest party are things the UUP is learning the hard way are things of the past

    Good to see that some in the UUP still haven’t even recognised the problem never mind begun to work on the answers – I expect FYU will be along any minute to agree with you!

  • darth rumsfeld

    Anyone who remembers Gregory Campbell’s graceless victory speech after defeating Willie Ross on the tv in 2001 will need no convincing of the validity of Patterson’s analysis. As my NIO source put it at the time -the unusual experience of the hardline Unionist being defeated by the liberal

    Peter Brown is right. Trimble doidn’t fail because of bad negotiating of the GFA. He failed because he lost every single test since, and his party was put through the mill by the blind loyalty of liberals who were happy to ignore party policy in the Molyneaux era, but demanded suspension of principle, judgment, and common sense under Turtle rule.

  • Ziznivy

    There isn’t any doubt that Paisley is a crude ethnic nationalist of a stripe easily discernible to Irish nationalists.

    Characterising Trimble as “Simply British”, despite that being his chosen phrase, is disingenuous when that is taken to exclude Irishness. Nationalists, trapped as they are by their impoverished concept of identity, seem unable to accept that unionists can feel entirely comfortable being both Irish and British.

    Trimble himself paraphrased Emerson Tenant when he talked about adding to the glory of being British the distinction of being Irish. Don’t project your own prejudices about identity on DT Paid (If I’m remebering correctly who posted those comments).

    I find little-Ulsterism such as Paisley’s every bit as an anathema to true unionism as Irish nationalism.

  • Ziznivy

    Actually it was Billy Pilgrim who made the comments.

  • Bigger Picture

    Pete Brown

    Good response to JEB. Better than the one i had typed out before my computer froze.

  • darth rumsfeld

    The UUP need only look to their collapse in Londonderry to see what will soon happen elsewhere. A small and aged membership, under the control of a man with wider priorities than the local (Jack Allen)either froze out potential rivals-the Hamiltons-or overinvested in untried young talent which was not ready for the pressures-Richard Dallas the Basil Mccrea prototype.

    The inability to adjust to the permanent loss of hope of real power and a vague desire not to be sen as DUP clones meant that an idiosyncratic direction of pitching at those who felt unable to back a Paisleyite became the core position of the party.In so doing they preceded the anguished debate in Cunningplan Hice since 2005. The fact that this failed in election after election did not deter them.

    They might have legitimately attacked the weak leadership of Willie Hay from a traditional stance but wouldn’t. They might have competed on constituency service but couldn’t. They will never recover, and the DUP now wins by default

  • Ziznivy

    “The reason there was a rearguard action within was DT keept insisting on jumping first – as you correctly point out below if he had held his nerve he would have achieved what the DUP has and still be First Minister and not broken his promises and irreparably damaged the UUP.”

    Although that type of counterfactual is purely conjecture, it’s hard to disagree with PB’s conclusions. Whilst DT was correct to enter government with SF on the first occasion, wrong-footing them and establishing the conditions that have made all subsequent progress possible, it was a grave error to go into government with them a second time.

    Whether SF/ IRA would have been able to deliver at that time, if DT had not blinked, is not entirely clear. Certainly it would have avoided the electoral collapse of his own party.

  • Philip

    All this is now academic – there will always be opponents and proponents of Lord Trimble, likewise with our first minister. Consequently, my own opinions and recollections may differ from others, but just look at today’s reality:

    A devolved power-sharing government now sits at Stormont.

    Is it proper that an evangelical church moderator and a self-confessed IRA leader be first of equals in the executive – probably not, likewise with the apparent Balkanisation of Northern Ireland by the main players; but, at least it is a start to a more normal form of politicking. Northern Ireland is now an optional part of the UK in that her citizens have the answer to the constitutional question by self-determination. This now means that the amended Irish Constitution and Sinn Fein’s willingness to accept Westminster-made law as supreme over Stormont-made law is now a moot point.

    What we should scrutinise is the MLAs and how to improve the machinery of good government. For example who pays for ……….. (insert your own thoughts here)

  • John East Belfast

    Peter

    There is one massive hole in your whole argument though – ie if it had been up to the DUP there never would have been jumping by anyone – especially them.

    The DUP were not even part of the original negotiating team. Not only did they leave all negotiations to the UUP but they left all the heavy lifting and risk taking to them as well.

    In the end they didnt jump but were pulled or pushed depending on whether you believe they woke up to the fact the world had moved on or Paisley about Plan B and Joint Authority.

    Either way this notion that they were better negotiators or held their nerve better is all complete nonsense.

    The DUP realised in 1998 they had effectively been left behind and they set off with one objective in mind – how to get themselves back on top and Paisley’s arse on the big chair in Stormont.

    To do that they stirred up the anti agreement rucus and used dissident UUP members – I suspect like yourself – to achieve their true objectives.
    Then once that had been achieved they ditched all their “principled” concerns about unrepentant terrorists being allowed anywhere democratic government.

    They were complete carpet baggers and con men.

    if PIRA had decomissioned like they should have several years ago Jeffery Donaldson would now be UUP Leader and First Minister and Paisley would have long since retired to the House of Lords instead of his wife.
    It would be the DUP who would be having the internal re-alignments.

    SF gifted the DUP where they are today because it suited them to have extreme unionism so as to bolster their own vote.

    We are victims of Paisley’s vanity and SF’s strategy.

    So please spare me the bit about how good they are – they did nothing other than stoke fear and were played on a string by the Govts and SF as they sat around waiting for events to fall into their laps.

    Also people forget that although Trimble jumped 3 times he also collapsed the process 3 times. Such strategies in the early years were part of the process to ‘reel in’ Republicans. THhe Republican movement were not going to be caught in one go – the DUP have just been there to land them.

    If Unionism had stood as a United force in 1998 and since we would have obtained the same objectives we have today much sooner and with less cost.

    The UUP did what they did for the country whereas the DUP did what they did for their Party and Leader.

    I know which I admire and as a Pro Agreement 1998 unionist there is little I would have done differently because we are where we are today because of the UUP and the GFA not because of the DUP.

  • Yes, I too remember Gregory Campbell’s 2001 victory in East Londonderry and also thought at the time that it was remarkably graceless. A decent traditional unionist like Willie Ross deserved better than losing his seat thanks to Trimble.

    Paisleyism has been such an avenue of protest over the last 40 years that its underlying weakness in the defence of unionism has often been overlooked. Now that the DUP has won the intra-unionist war and beaten the UUP for ever, we can all see its inadequacies – superb micro-managers, as Darth has said, but useless strategically. The problem is that the party potentially best placed to beat it – the UUP – is locked into decline, probably irretrievably. It is the one unionist opposition that the DUP will be able to beat, at least for the foreseeable future. A restructured and reborn unionist alternative could take the DUP to the cleaners.

    Old Enoch got it right 25 years ago when he stung Paisley as the deadliest threat to the union. I’m amazed that the UUP has not taken the DUP to task over the politically dangerous roa of harmonising corporation tax with the Republic. Once upon a time, unionists were hostile to that sort of thing for very good reasons.

  • On the subject of corporation tax, Jim Allister asked a written question to the relevant EU Commissioner and received an answer. As he states in his website:

    “It is clear that without fiercely independent fiscal powers – such as to exclusively control and shape the economic environment in which business operates, there is no question of a separate corporate regime in any part of the UK being compatible with EU law. Even in the Azores, where there are devolved fiscal powers, that was not enough as it was deemed to constitute state aid. The 3 tests set out in the 2nd paragraph of Commissioner Kroes’ answer are stiff and are additional to having autonomous fiscal powers.

    1. The devolved government must be of such a nature, from a constitutional point of view, as to have a political and administrative status separate from that of the central government.
    2. The subject fiscal law must have been adopted without the central government being able to intervene directly as regards its content.
    3. The financial consequences of reducing corporation tax must not be offset by aid or subsidies from the central government – in other words there must be no subvention to make up for the loss in revenue.”

    The UUP has a MEP who is just as capable of asking questions. Why has the party not made more of the DUP’s apparent failure to grasp the importance of EU law in this area?

  • Whatever Next

    Couldn’t agree more with Watchers & Darth on the inadequacy of the Paisleyites (every argument every Big House unionist ever made against him has been borne out: that man neither objected to real threats to the union, still less to the big house – all he ever wanted was to be in the big house himself, and he didn’t give a toss who he dragged in with him), but the current Turtle fib de jour needs to be nailed.

    It goes, on this thread and others, ‘the DUP have signed up to the [Belfast/Good Friday] Agreement’. Now, amazing as this *still* appears to be to the titicians at CH, there’s no political traction whatsoever in accusing your opponents of something you, er, did first, and would be more than delighted to do again, but we’ll just give up on trying to explain that one to them.

    The Lie here is that, Trimble’s Agreement = Paisley’s Agreement. Now *I* don’t like either agreement (in common with, I’d have to guess, Darth, the Watchman &c), but it has got to be understood by Turtle cultists that Ginger Dave’s agreement differs profoundly from the demom doc’s. How? Simple: the Trimble [indeed, Trimble/Blair] Agreement promised us complete Provo decommissioning (which as we all said at the time was a Very Important Goal, and to that end staked endless political capital on the attainment of it): it didn’t deliver it (and not only did Trimble fail to have his agreement work in that sense, it became painfully obvious that he was never going to be able to make it work in that sense). Whereas Paisley forced the (the Government to force the) Provos to disarm. Not, of course, to his hitherto stated standards of verification, but then who’s suprised that Paisley lied easily about that?

    So sure, keep (if you’re a Purpled Handed Defender) keep coming back to tell us that Paisley’s great sin is that, uh, he did what you’d much rather be doing yourselves, but that’s just not true. *You*, in the shape of Trimble, demonstrably couldn’t do what Paisley has already accomplished. That’s the difference between the two agreements, and if you can’t see the huge distinction, it’s no wonder that the UUP is dying on its knees.

  • Ziznivy

    That is one of the most annoying, gratingly written posts I’ve ever encountered. I don’t care what the content is, no-one could be expected to elicit it from that heap of crap.

  • Whatever Next

    Proving yet again how little use Grammar schools really are.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Ziznivy

    “There isn’t any doubt that Paisley is a crude ethnic nationalist of a stripe easily discernible to Irish nationalists.”

    What a revealing sneer that is! You sound like a Victorian imperialist, blasting the fuzzy-wuzzies for their backward ways and their cussed reluctance to accept your ideas on identity. I’m talking about a sense of cultural affinity that nationalists see in Paisley – can you empathise with what I’m saying, or is your imperial instinct so ingrained that your ideas on identity amount to nothing more than an acultural mush?

    “Characterising Trimble as “Simply British”, despite that being his chosen phrase, is disingenuous when that is taken to exclude Irishness.”

    I once spoke to David Trimble and asked him whether he felt Irish. His face went purple and he literally bared his teeth as he hissed: “certainly not”. I remember seeing a reporter ask John Taylor the same question once, and his reaction was identical. This was at a time when these two were the leader and deputy leader of the largest unionist party. Am I wrong in suggesting that they are representative of a strand within unionism?

    “Nationalists, trapped as they are by their impoverished concept of identity, seem unable to accept that unionists can feel entirely comfortable being both Irish and British.”

    Firstly, I don’t feel my concept of identity to be impoverished. On the contrary, I feel grateful every day that my sense of identity and cultural belonging is so nourishing, so luxurious. My country is perhaps, pound for pound, the world’s greatest producer of literary talent. Our contributions to music, the arts, film, philosophy, politics, economics, business and other fields is staggering, for a country our size. Quite contrary to your assertion that an Irishman’s sense of identity is “impoverished”, some of our greatest writers have found it overwhelming, and have sought out more austere cultural climates in which to continue their work. So thanks for your concern, but we’re doing fine here.

    (*And I mean Irishman – I make no distinction between unionist and nationalist, northerner or southerner, Protestant or Catholic, planter or Gael, in this context.)

    And in answer to your assertion: of course I understand that unionists can feel entirely comfortable being both British and Irish. (I cited Paisley as an example.) However, it is also my experience that SOME within unionism have great difficulty with it. Trimble certainly strikes me as a very good example of this, but never mind Trimble – would you agree that there does exist within unionism this anti-Irish strand?

    “Trimble himself paraphrased Emerson Tenant when he talked about adding to the glory of being British the distinction of being Irish.”

    I’m very surprised to hear that, I must say.

    “Don’t project your own prejudices about identity on DT”

    I resent that.

    “I find little-Ulsterism such as Paisley’s every bit as an anathema to true unionism as Irish nationalism.”

    Maybe so, but “unionism” as we have known it is in fact a Protestant alliance – a communal reaction to a perceived crisis, rather than a political movement or ideology per se – and the “true unionists” are today in a minority.

    A new consensus between Irish republicanism (in its broad all-island sense) and Ulster Protestantism is evolving, dealing with the lives and futures and relationships between people on this island. “True unionism” seems marginal in all of this, and I suppose it’ll be up to “true unionists” like yourself to make it relevant to the debate in the years ahead.

    So if I could suggest ditching the imperialist arrogance and trying to empathise with the very real sense of identity and patriotic attachment that 90% of people here have to this island (or part thereof).

  • Whatever Next

    And all that sh*te from the man whose usual formulation when touching on The People He Doesn’t Like is, ‘even Unionists’. Still, good to see the honest face, isn’t it?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Whatever Next

    Whatever are you on about, newbie?

  • Whatever Next

    Oooooh, killer come back. Though, other than revealing a quite touching insecurity (is that really the best you can do), it’s obvious enough that even you can’t be bothered to remember anything you’ve droned into Slugger. (See my usage of the word ‘even’ there? remind you of anything? oh yeah, your preferred way of alluding to unionists, boo, hiss! evil bigots on the wrong side of history! blah, boring, stuck record, blah).

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Whatever Next

    I’ve answered you over on the other thread. Now please stop acting like a tube.

  • páid

    BP,

    I’m surprised you haven’t recognised DT’s Irishness heretofore. The red hair, the temper, the quarrelsome nature, the Celtic complexion.

    And did he not dance a jig with the Doc down the Garvaghy Rd?

  • Whatever Next

    God knows, wasting my time trying to get you to flip over once in a while to your B side certainly does mark me out as a tube.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Paid.

    “I’m surprised you haven’t recognised DT’s Irishness heretofore. The red hair, the temper, the quarrelsome nature, the Celtic complexion.”

    Very true. But I don’t dispute Trimble’s Irishness – he does. (At least some of the time, anyway.) It’s not my business to tell anyone what he is and isn’t, of course.

    Whatever Next

    I think you need to go and lie down.

  • Whatever Next

    I see now that I have been wasting my time, and that ‘Billy Pilgrim’ isn’t a Republican poster, but is in fact a Unionist troll. Though an invention betraying considerable literary skill, I have to admit. Not least in the biting irony of having his Billy character unselfconsciously write: “I don’t dispute Trimble’s Irishness – he does. (At least some of the time, anyway.) It’s not my business to tell anyone what he is and isn’t, of course” – a gem! As yes, that sort of myopia – I’m not telling the irishman Trimble what he is – captures the petulant self-deception of all too many Republicans really quite painfully. Whoever you are sending them up in this way, well done, you had me going for a while there.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Whatever Next

    I’m left wondering whether you and I are in the same universe, or if you are posting from another dimension, one similar but every so slightly different from our own. Because there’s a serious disconnect in understanding going on here.

  • Whatever Next

    Yeah, in my universe, people answer points put to them. But oh wait, “I don’t dispute Trimble’s Irishness – he does. (At least some of the time, anyway.) It’s not my business to tell anyone what he is and isn’t, of course”. More! more!

  • Ziznivy

    BP

    “What revealing sneer that is! You sound like a Victorian imperialist, blasting the fuzzy-wuzzies for their backward ways and their cussed reluctance to accept your ideas on identity. I’m talking about a sense of cultural affinity that nationalists see in Paisley – can you empathise with what I’m saying, or is your imperial instinct so ingrained that your ideas on identity amount to nothing more than an acultural mush? “

    What sense of affinity? The only sense of affinity that nationalists see in Paisley is a lack of anything discernibly British. A few platitudes in recent days about “Irishness” is some basis for a cultural affinity.

    “I once spoke to David Trimble and asked him whether he felt Irish. His face went purple and he literally bared his teeth as he hissed: “certainly not”. I remember seeing a reporter ask John Taylor the same question once, and his reaction was identical. This was at a time when these two were the leader and deputy leader of the largest unionist party. Am I wrong in suggesting that they are representative of a strand within unionism?“

    A strand that feel principally British but acknowledge the unionism of those who feel Irish also? I see no dichotomy there. Which nationality these politicians feel is not the crucial issue when you believe that statehood should not necessarily be predicated along ethno-nationalist lines.

    “Firstly, I don’t feel my concept of identity to be impoverished. On the contrary, I feel grateful every day that my sense of identity and cultural belonging is so nourishing, so luxurious. My country is perhaps, pound for pound, the world’s greatest producer of literary talent. Our contributions to music, the arts, film, philosophy, politics, economics, business and other fields is staggering, for a country our size. Quite contrary to your assertion that an Irishman’s sense of identity is “impoverished”, some of our greatest writers have found it overwhelming, and have sought out more austere cultural climates in which to continue their work. So thanks for your concern, but we’re doing fine here.
    (*And I mean Irishman – I make no distinction between unionist and nationalist, northerner or southerner, Protestant or Catholic, planter or Gael, in this context.) “

    Very kind of you to include unionists. I too happen to be proud of the cultural achievements of my fellow Irishmen. The number of unionists and Irishmen of British descent who have been amongst these high-achievers precludes me from adopting a view of Irishness which negates Britishness or defines itself by opposition to Englishness.

    “And in answer to your assertion: of course I understand that unionists can feel entirely comfortable being both British and Irish. (I cited Paisley as an example.) However, it is also my experience that SOME within unionism have great difficulty with it. Trimble certainly strikes me as a very good example of this, but never mind Trimble – would you agree that there does exist within unionism this anti-Irish strand?
    “Trimble himself paraphrased Emerson Tenant when he talked about adding to the glory of being British the distinction of being Irish.”
    I’m very surprised to hear that, I must say. “

    http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/issues/politics/docs/uup/dt131104.htm

    You can read his comments here. There may well be a strand of unionism which has a problem accepting Irishness as a legitimate identity within Britain. I would say this strand is extremely misguided. Considering yourself British primarily, or even entirely certainly does not consign you to this category. No-one within Northern Ireland has any duty to consider themselves as firstly Irish. If anything it is the narrow constraints given to the concept by Irish nationalists which may encourage them to reject such a definition.

    “Maybe so, but “unionism” as we have known it is in fact a Protestant alliance – a communal reaction to a perceived crisis, rather than a political movement or ideology per se – and the “true unionists” are today in a minority.
    A new consensus between Irish republicanism (in its broad all-island sense) and Ulster Protestantism is evolving, dealing with the lives and futures and relationships between people on this island. “True unionism” seems marginal in all of this, and I suppose it’ll be up to “true unionists” like yourself to make it relevant to the debate in the years ahead. ”

    That is your perception of unionism. It’s your prerogative to dismiss it as opposed to taking account of the definitions unionists themselves have provided, particularly in the last 25 years, or considering unionism in a wider UK context.
    I see no sign of a “new consensus”. I see a very nascent assembly and very little else. Although your view of Paisley entirely vindicates my suspicions of the old fraud.

  • Peter Brown

    “There is one massive hole in your whole argument though – ie if it had been up to the DUP there never would have been jumping by anyone – especially them.”

    Not a hole but the core of my argument – they wouldn’t have done what DT said he was going to do – wait for others to jump first

    “The DUP were not even part of the original negotiating team. Not only did they leave all negotiations to the UUP but they left all the heavy lifting and risk taking to them as well.”

    All true only if you ignore the fact that the UUP broke ranks not the DUP

    “Either way this notion that they were better negotiators or held their nerve better is all complete nonsense.”

    Again look at the facts

    “If Unionism had stood as a United force in 1998 and since we would have obtained the same objectives we have today much sooner and with less cost.”

    So why did the UUP break ranks?

    “The UUP did what they did for the country whereas the DUP did what they did for their Party and Leader.”

    How so?

    The UUP and DT were the authors of their own misfortune – a badly negotiated Agreement with intangible benefits for unionism outweighed by measurable advances for terrorists on both sides and Republicans in particular compounded by a half hearted pro Agreement Referendum campaign when the Party was supposed to stay quiet reinforcing the belief of many unionists that this was not a good deal just the best deal the UUP could get. Then having oversold parts of the Agreement (the RUC has been saved) and sold out by Blair in every aspect of constructive ambiguity DT having drawn lines in the sand jumps first 3 times (you’d think he would learn after the first time) and breaks his word.

    The UUP could be where the DUP is now if they hadn’t rushed into government (for whose sake?)and instead done exactly what the DUP has done – let SF/IRA jump first. This has compounded the belief of the unionist electorate that the UUP was/is weak and reinforced the rise of the DUP.

    You are of course entitled to your opinion but it does not change the facts!

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Ziznivy

    “What sense of affinity?”

    You know how sometimes you look at someone and you just think: “he goes on just like X”?

    I have often been disgusted listening to Paisley down the years, yet I can still kind of empathise with where he’s coming from emotionally, if not intellectually or politically. I see Paisley blustering, or especially when he’s laughing, and he just reminds me of people I know. It seems obvious to me that he’s, well, he’s from around here. There’s a familiarity there. I’m happy to call it a shared Irishness.

    Compare and contrast with Trimble’s pomposity or Taylor’s accent. Just alien. I’ve met Taylor a few times and I’m always astonished that we’re from the same town.

    “The only sense of affinity that nationalists see in Paisley is a lack of anything discernibly British.”

    There are only two cultures, right? British, and Not British.

    Can’t you understand that my identity is my own, my nationality is my own, and I don’t have to view either through any prism of Britishness? Britain has had a huge influence over my country and that is reflected culturally, sure. Great. But it’s absurd that some people assume any pride Irish people might feel about themselves is somehow a slight on Britain and Britishness. Get over yourself! It’s not all about you!

    “A few platitudes in recent days about “Irishness” is some basis for a cultural affinity.”

    It’s a start, and like Joey the Lips Fagan, I’m a great believer in starts.

    “A strand that feel principally British but acknowledge the unionism of those who feel Irish also? I see no dichotomy there.”

    I’m not saying there is a dichotomy. What I am saying is that there’s a strand within unionism that hotly denies any suggestion of Irishness – something that seems objectively bizarre in someone born and raised in Ireland.

    “Which nationality these politicians feel is not the crucial issue when you believe that statehood should not necessarily be predicated along ethno-nationalist lines.”

    Everywhere in the world, nationality is based on where you’re from. NI is part of the UK, so it’s logical that unionists would see themselves as British. Fair play. But it’s also part of Ireland, and some people deny they are Irish. Bizarre, but there it is.

    Look, I understand that most unionists see themselves as British while some also see themselves as Irish. I welcome this, and as an Irish republican, it seems like a potentially fertile piece of common ground. I also think that those who have been born and raised in, say, Co Down, and insist they aren’t in any way Irish, will increasingly be seen in the future as strange oddities. But that’s just a prediction, I suppose we’ll see.

    “Very kind of you to include unionists.”

    Of course I include unionists. Why wouldn’t I? They’re my countrymen as much as anyone else from this island.

    “The number of unionists and Irishmen of British descent who have been amongst these high-achievers precludes me from adopting a view of Irishness which negates Britishness or defines itself by opposition to Englishness.”

    I’m not aware of any significant Irish artist who has sought to “negate Britishness” or defined his/her work by “opposition to Englishness”. I think you are again displaying imperial arrogance in assuming that anything that is pro-Irish must also be anti-English/British. That tendency does exist, but not among our major artists. If they were defined by anything so narrow-minded, they wouldn’t be major artists.

    I’ve known many unionists in my time who look at expressions of Irish patriotism and see only sedition. They look at Irish people taking pride in their culture and customs, in their language and games, and see only resistance to British culture and customs, language and games. They look at all the wonderful cultural achievements of the Irish and see only “anti-Britishness”.

    I always accuse them of arrogance, of over-estimating Britain’s significance to Ireland’s cultural life, and I always ask them the same question: if, culturally, Irish people are obsessed by the narrow objective of negating all things British, how come their cultural achievements are so spectacular? How could such a narrow-minded, reactionary people have produced Joyce, Yeats, Beckett Shaw, Wilde, Heaney, Kavanagh, McGahern, Burke, Goldsmith, Gogarty, Sheridan, Edgeworth, O’Faoilann, O’Brien, O’Connor, Behan, Banville, Doyle….etc?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    “You can read his comments here.”

    Oh, I don’t doubt you for a second, I’m just surprised, that’s all.

    “There may well be a strand of unionism which has a problem accepting Irishness as a legitimate identity within Britain. I would say this strand is extremely misguided.”

    I would strongly agree.

    “Considering yourself British primarily, or even entirely certainly does not consign you to this category.”

    Again I agree. It always seem straightforward enough to me that unionists could see themselves as Irish, and that their Irishness existed WITHIN their Britishness. But again, it’s not my business to tell people how they should feel.

    “No-one within Northern Ireland has any duty to consider themselves as firstly Irish.”

    No duty, of course not, but clearly there’s such a thing as demonstrable reality. People can choose to define themselves any way they want, but if they depart from reality, they can’t complain if people raise an eyebrow. Someone born and raised in Co Antrim who says he’s not Irish is quite entitled to do so, but I’m entitled to raise an eyebrow and wonder how on earth he has arrived at his conclusion.

    “If anything it is the narrow constraints given to the concept by Irish nationalists which may encourage them to reject such a definition.”

    To be honest Ziz, I think your understand of Irish nationalism is hamstrung by a whole bunch of very obvious assumptions you bring to the subject. An Irishman is simply someone who is of Ireland. End of story. Everything else is constantly up for grabs. Got nothing to do with political persuasion – of which, naturally, there are many different kinds on this island.

    “That is your perception of unionism. It’s your prerogative to dismiss it as opposed to taking account of the definitions unionists themselves have provided, particularly in the last 25 years, or considering unionism in a wider UK context.”

    Why would you assume I haven’t taken many different strands of opinion into account? I don’t “dismiss” anything. Would you disagree with my suggestion that, rather than being a movement or ideology per se, Ulster unionism has been, since at least the great convention of 1892, a coalition, overwhelmingly of Protestants, united against a perceived threat to their way of life?

  • darth rumsfeld

    “I’m not aware of any significant Irish artist who has sought to “negate Britishness” or defined his/her work by “opposition to Englishness”.”

    I was going to say the Wolfe Tones, Robert Ballagh, the bint who’s granny came from Rathlin and who always sings at Shinner konklaves, Seamus Heaney…but in fairness to you Billy, you did say “significant”

    “Would you disagree with my suggestion that, rather than being a movement or ideology per se, Ulster unionism has been, since at least the great convention of 1892, a coalition, overwhelmingly of Protestants, united against a perceived threat to their way of life?”

    Sorry, I don’t get your point. What’s the difference between a movement and a coalition? Yes it was a coalition overwhelmingly of Protestants united against a perceived threat to their way of life…AND in support of the idea of a Union of the British people. If it were purely defensive and exploitative, would it have have sent the UVF to France? Or sent its sons to imperial wars, and to carry the imperial burden throughout the globe? They saw themselves as Britons joined at the hip with the rest of the Empire- if they were simply terrified of Rome Rule then they would have failed to obtain support from commercial and landed interests, and from all but the evangelical few in GB.

    I’ve always disagreed with the John Taylor line that there are two peoples in NI – the british and the Irish. It’s self defeating for both to think in those terms. We’re all both, and both need to be redefined. The UK is way ahead in this, given its experience of assimilating many races into its population. But I wouldn’t deny for one minute that RoI is moving, for the better of all of us.

  • Ziznivy

    BP, I will reply, but right now my head is bouncing too much after the reverse suffered by unionism at Hampden Park last night. 😉

  • Ziznivy

    Although I will take up the singnificant artist point. Precisely! Because an artist whose art is defined by nationalism / republicanism wouldn’t be worth the effort.

  • fair_deal

    JEB

    They made a deal, held their vote, saw off challeneges to the left and right (granted not well organised ones) and kept almost all their representation ie only one significant casualty. Looks like selling it to me.

    “Firstly they didnt have to fight a viscious unionist rear guard action both within and without like the UUP did.”

    Within – They managed their party internally better plus they have more modern structures. Trimble could have changed the structures early on but he faffed about missed his chance and paid a price for this failure. Nothing to do with the DUP.
    Without – The DUP can’t be blamed for the unwillingness or inabilities of their opponents. For example, the UUP could have actually made its criticisms St Andrews meaningful by saying it was going into opposition but they chose not too. “the line of multiple times bitten makes very shy” would have had some credibilty with the electorate at least.

    “Secondly by the time they had their deal the Provos had eventually delivered Decommissioning.”

    Decommissioning was achieved during the DUP’s hegemony and it wasn’t achieved by agreeing to government before it was done, or jumping back into government the minute it seemed to have been completed.

    “Thirdly the majority of the unionist electorate had eventually woken up to the soundness of the original UUP strategy as it eventually delivered 2 above and they saw peace and prosperity all around them – including a 50% increase in their house prices in the last 12 months alone.”

    Let’s leave aside the dodgy economics of our housing market and the increasing number of losers this situation is creating.

    The UUP strategy didn’t deliver 2. It happened when they weren’t the key player in the process. The UUP startegy was to go into government on promises that were broken or minimally and lethargically fulfilled. Neither was the failure to decommission a clear breach of the terms of the Belfast Agreement which the UUP negotiated.

    So the scales fall from the electorate’s eyes but they don’t support the party who delivered it. Hmm.

    However let’s follow this line of argument for a moment:
    Is a party not being able to communicate to the electorate that they are the people who have delivered this not bad selling?
    Is a second party that apparently had nothing to do with these developments gaining the credit not a successful selling job?

    “Fourthly a huge proportion of the DUP electorate are unable to think independently for themselves (as per Ian Jnr) and if it is good enough for Doctor Paisley then it is good enough for them.”

    Yes blame and insult voters that is the way back. No other party at all has sheep like members or voters of course.

  • Peter Brown

    Interestingly I made a lot of those points yesterday (see 6 above) and JEB hasn’t got back to me yet – I understand he has an opticians appointment which might explain this as he is trying to find a cure for his selective tunnel vision…..

  • fair_deal

    PB

    Sorry for the repetition I was away yesterday and hadn’t read all the thread

  • Ziznivy

    “o be honest Ziz, I think your understand of Irish nationalism is hamstrung by a whole bunch of very obvious assumptions you bring to the subject. An Irishman is simply someone who is of Ireland. End of story. Everything else is constantly up for grabs. Got nothing to do with political persuasion – of which, naturally, there are many different kinds on this island.
    “That is your perception of unionism. It’s your prerogative to dismiss it as opposed to taking account of the definitions unionists themselves have provided, particularly in the last 25 years, or considering unionism in a wider UK context.”
    Why would you assume I haven’t taken many different strands of opinion into account? I don’t “dismiss” anything. Would you disagree with my suggestion that, rather than being a movement or ideology per se, Ulster unionism has been, since at least the great convention of 1892, a coalition, overwhelmingly of Protestants, united against a perceived threat to their way of life? “
    Well here’s the crux. If you can dismiss much of the recent theory in unionism and make broad-brush judgments such as the above, I am entitled to do the same about nationalism. And whatever “hamstrung assumptions” I bring to the subject it seems fairly obvious that Irish nationalism had its roots in 19th century romantic nationalism, as typified by the German romantic nationalism that begat National Socialism.
    The southern state in actuality and in theory defined itself as Gaelic and Catholic and that is a legacy which is only slowly changing. The protestant and unionist traditions were marginalised and perceived as “alien”.