DUP: yes, we are running Stormont…

There are some unlikely consonances in Northern Irish politics today, not least this statement from East Antrim DUP MLA Alistair Ross agreeing with the independent Republican MLA Gerry McHugh’s assertion that the DUP is winning all the plays inside the Executive with Sinn Fein playing along behind. Then again, it is early days yet. We’ve not even seen a sign of the mildest bunfight between the two ‘top table’ parties yet.

  • biko

    I am a non party political unionist but that is just stupid, the DUP have no veto that Sinn Fein dont also hold…they are hog tied to each other.

    The fact that any Unionist party would see this is as a boast is ludicrous.

    The UUP appeared weak with no veto but disagreed with and opposed SF…the DUP now hold a joint veto with SF but wont even disagree over the colour to paint the committee rooms 🙂

  • Perhaps Ross missed Paisley’s ‘I was forced into it’ confession.

    “an accountable and stable local administration”

    It seems the accountability only exists on election day as the committees have DUP/SF majorities.

  • Ian

    “the DUP have no veto that Sinn Fein dont also hold…they are hog tied to each other.”

    Yes but Unionism is in broad terms in favour of the status quo, whereas nationalists/republicans would like to push through social, political and economic reforms (Irish Language Act, changes to school admissions, etc). So the mutual veto is more advantageous to Unionism.

    The field of government where Unionism might be more keen on changing the status quo – the criminal justice system (e.g. tougher sentencing) – is currently outside the Executive’s remit. Perhaps this is one reason why the DUP are reluctant to assent to devolution of justice matters?

  • Perhaps by definition it is impossible for the DUP not to get its way when it and SF are essentially one homogeneous unit within the Executive.

  • Your move

    I would like to think that SF are playing a longer more strategic game than the DUP who seemed to be swamped with sycophants who seem to point out every short term ‘gain’ as evidence they are the masters. They never seem to learn…

  • Crataegus

    I would like to think that SF are playing a longer more strategic game

    Like calling hard working, industrious people the wrong sort of Catholic?

    God it is dismal to be back in this place even if briefly. Let us face it there are none of them playing a very clever or strategically objective game. They are all adrift and will wash up where ever the current takes them.

    What really really matters is the economy and I see little to inspire confidence in any of them.

  • Winning all the plays? They’ve had 7 or 8 months and have achieved exactly the square root of fuck all. Well done lads, what a victory!

  • kensei

    “Yes but Unionism is in broad terms in favour of the status quo, whereas nationalists/republicans would like to push through social, political and economic reforms (Irish Language Act, changes to school admissions, etc). So the mutual veto is more advantageous to Unionism.”

    This one is trotted out but it remains balls.

    I’ll give you the ILA for the moment, but schools admissions? They are changing. If the opposition kills any movement, it’ll create a mess and paralysis, rather than the status quo. As it is, even a compromise might still create a mess and paralysis.

    And SF could theoretically kill any changes to the councils it didn’t like, or the Stadium, or basically anything else it wants. As time goes on, there’ll be other bits and pieces Unionism will be after. And the result there will not be Unionist or Nationalist victory. It’ll be useless mess.

    Might be best then, to get off the childish language of victory, and onto the language of getting useful things done.

  • George

    The DUP are firmly in control up on the hill – I didnt see much Sinn Fein ideology reflected in either the draft programme for government nor the draft budget. What happened to the sinn fein socialist ideals? Yet they sign up to a centre right pro capitalist agenda for the next 3 years? As for the veto – yes it is a mutual veto, but as pointed out above this plays in to the hands of the DUP as the status quo suits Unionism. Rosses statement may be DUP ‘spin’ but from my viewing of the situation at stormont it would seem as if the DUP have a fairly tight grip on things.

  • Jim Alister is talking shit – poultry shit and problems of its disposal.

    “It appears to me that unless the Executive get their act together, and adopt a joined-up strategic approach to this very serious issue, then our poultry industry could face a very real threat. I suspect poultry producers will want to know when will local Ministers start working with the industry towards achieving a sensible outcome, on the basis that it is clearly producers who will be the fall guy if all else fails.”

  • CTN

    Regarding short v Long termism in the Assembly the shinners may be redeemed by the imposition of the ILA from Westminister also is it not the case that the 11+ is set to be scrapped regardless and its only a matter of what replaces it?

    Other possibilities of redemption for SF are Births, Deaths, Marriages and property transfers being registered in Dublin- (some pre-21 incidents already are) also nationalists may aquire PPS (national insurance numbers), these factors could come into play as the number of Irish passport holders rapidly increases in the north and nationalists increasely interface with the 26 co state.

    Local councils under nationalist control may also start removing union flags- these factors outside the assembly could make the assembly less important- but thats all hypothetical.

    Both sides have taking a gamble on the demographics- the prods hope the taigs have flatlined and the taigs hope the prods are dyin of old age quicker or leaving for England.

    Its up to Adams to keep skeptics like McHugh on board if he wants to screw big Ian in the long grass- likewise for Ian and Jim Allister.

    It remains to be seen how long the current DUP and SF leaderships remain in place and what impact these defections and realignments will have on the votes.

    Perhaps the next chuckle brothers will be Gerry Kelly and Nigel Dodds both candidates for that precious North Belfast seat which could leave us with 9 prod and 9 taig MP’s apiece…

  • steve

    Sometimes the easiest way to win the long victory is to sandbag your opponent in the short term.

    As someone pointed out , What have the DUP really accomplished? the square root of sweet fuck all

  • Twinbrook

    Revolutionary Politics indeed, at present you would be hard pressed to see the difference between SF and the DUP…
    Its time for real politics and time for something new…something that will deal with the issues which affect both Loyalist and Republican areas…
    I for one thought the days when middle class parties and politicians ignored their electorate and feathered their own nests was a begone of a past era!

  • biko

    Not convinced that the DUP are in a more advantageous position than SF. The veto is equal.

    SF haven’t ‘abandoned their socialist ideals’ because the DUP told them to, they abandoned them because they were loosely held and power corrupts oh and few people remain socialist once they have something to loose.

    When it comes to things like PPP/PFI and the budget as pointed out above SF will happily play second fiddle to the DUP because it is what they want to happen but they cant drive it cause they are socialist 🙂 When it comes to things they actually want to change…like academic selection…well watch that space.

  • jaffa

    Seems to me sometimes that our situation is a bit like a co-habiting Executive (President) and Legislature in a constitutional republic like the US or France. Ours is a bit more odd because the same people take turns acting as both executive and legislature but surely this should encourage compromise so long as politicians want to balance a reputation for getting things done (as executive government ministers) with stopping bad things from happening (as legislative MLA’s). What we don’t have (at least/as yet) is a frustrated and embittered Newt Gingrich vs. frustrated Bill Clinton style stand-off as there is more room for compromise and exchange than there would be between an executive and legislature controlled entirely by different parties.

  • Turgon

    I think your move has analysed this fairly well.

    The DUP are very interested in what they have gained at St Andrew’s viz a degree of veto power, sort of SF agreement to policing (sort of a little bit) and a tiny amount of collective responsibility. Even more so the DUP are interested in the exercising their new found political power; not that they are doing very much constructive with it in terms of making decisions and changes.

    The republican movement has, however, always played a very long game. They have gained significant power; they have vetoes over almost everything the DUP can do. As such when the time comes that the DUP want something; SF can demand their pound of flesh in return, something at times the DUP seem blind to. Indeed SF could quite easily play Shylock to the DUP’s Antonio.

    The North South bodies are moderately important already and although at the moment they are doing pretty non controversial things; they could be used to forward SF’s agenda and the DUP might only be able to block them by loosing things they really want.

    Of course McHugh has left because he saw little progress from his analysis. He may well just not have enough patience.

    I do disagree fundamentally with Crateagus, he is as ever analysing things as an intelligent, liberal minded person. I submit Anderson’s outburst is a carefully timed and precise attempt to ensure that McHugh typed dissidents are confined to South Armagh and especially parts of Fermanagh which seem very hard line and unimpressed by the current situation. People like Anderson having a good pretty bigoted MOPE reminds the hard line that they have not been forgotten. As I have maintained before (in the face of some derision), Anderson is the poster girl for a certain segment of the SF electorate, namely young, disaffected and probably largely urban. She fills her role admirably.

  • Sir Herbert Mercer

    It seems that the comments on here tear Mr Ross’s statement to shreads, primarily because it’s not actually true.

    What he seems to be saying is that Power is concentrated with the DUP, something that mandatory coalition makes rather impossible.

    Mr Ross,once hailed a great PR genius (he assisted in the ardous task of getting Sammy Wilson elected to Westminster and 3 DUP candidates into the Assembley), is telling porkies!

    I’m suprised all the DUP HQ slugger users or Chris Stalford haven’t been on here talking of Mr Ross’s accuracy and telling us how the DUP is 100% perfect.

    I hope that wasn’t what George’s comment was supposed to be. I would hope that “bright young things” could use apostrophes.

  • Dull Old Thing

    At least they can spell ‘Assembly’ though.