I have blogged about Alex Kanes Newsletter columns before. The latest is another excellent analysis from a unionist perspective.Kane states that Robinson will have difficulty moving away from Paisleys shadow and amongst other things cites the Chuckle Brothers about which Robinson did nothing. However, I would submit that allowing Paisley to do this may have helped Robinson to look distinctive, different and more acceptable to the harder line elements in his party which may have been traditionally suspicious of him. That suspicion may well in part come from his know pragmatism and central role in the Task Force Report which Kane mentions.
Of course Kanes analysis that Robinsons destruction of the UUP will be remembered by the UUP and be a hindrance to greater cooperation is correct: Fermanagh South Tyrone 2001 being the classic example with the tacit DUP support for Jim Dixon gifting the seat to Gildernew. In that episode surely the hand of Robinson loomed large?
The failure of the DUP to gain much from the St. Andrews negotiations and the disingenuous nature of how they fought the last assembly election have of course been analysed at length previously. It is worth mentioning, however, that that sell out will be long remembered and Robinson must take much of the blame. It will return to haunt him every time he tries to draw a line in the sand. Robinson could quite easily become another Trimble on that score.
Kane is also correct that Robinson will be haunted by the ghost of Paisley. Worst of all would be the possibility that Paisley might denounce a move made by Robinson after he becomes leader. I doubt this will happen but there is another problem. Once Paisley dies (and despite his apparent excellent health it may happen) the party may look back and say The Big Man will be turning in his grave; conveniently forgetting Paisleys recent living spinning around.
The lack of democracy in the Democratic Unionist party is of course most amusing but hardly a new phenomenon.