The problem with the DUP’s religous negativism…

Without doubt Peter Robinson’s speech on Thursday was as finely turned as any from a local politician in years. It marked out a precise vision and inclusive vision for all the people in Northern Ireland. Yesterday, as Chris has pointed out, his wife Iris seemed determined to take the shine off the First Minister’s newly ‘liberal’ ball.Now it would be a great tragedy if all our politicians were to bury their individual conscience for the sake of the so-called ‘greater good’. But here’s the rub. How does a fundamentalist politician deal with being a legislator and being a believer at the same time? And there is a wider problem for the DUP in particular, which, never having had such profound government responsibility it has not had to confront before. As Paul articulates here:

As the conflicts in Northern Ireland recede, it can be reasonably hoped that the influence of radical protestantism will decline. The way that a direct internal party democracy brought the Ulster Unionist Party to the brink of destruction a few years ago, the DUP may have to weather storms in which it’s own emerging aristocratic minority – those with a responsibility to serve the general will and thereby ensure their party’s electability – will come into conflict with the larger body of opinion within their party – the negativists – who know only what they are against.

I would suggest (as an extension of the previous posts) that the simplistic and disastrous attitudes to internal democracy within the Unionist parties can be explained by the dominance that evangelical protestantism has over Unionism. By thrusting radical Unionism into government, HMG may be exposing the DUP to the consequences of their own puritanism.

This political problem should not be underestimated. The fundamentalist Christians in the DUP hold strongly to the religion. And they share a sense of grievance with the current Pope that an increasingly secular world is generally going the wrong way. But that is now coming into sharp contrast with its new ambition to provide leadership for all the people of Northern Ireland. That does not just include the communion of believers (broadly Catholic and Protestant).

Mrs Robinson has heart felt and deeply held views. No one who heard the Nolan Show yesterday could doubt that for a moment. But as commenter Printemps said in Chris’s earlier thread: “The worry I have is not that Iris has her own opinions, but that she doesn’t recognise the privilege of her position, nor the damage she can do.”

If this continues, the substantial damage will be wrought on the party rather than on the increasingly confident community it appears content to be at low level war with.

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  • Simon

    Oh dear, oh dear. Who let this narrow minded bigot on the radio. It is disgusting that someone like her should hold such a public position. She should not be allowed to spew such bigotry. Iris I hate to break the news to you, but this is the breakdown of religions and their members in the world, and someone is bound to be disspointed if God does not exist:

    Christianity: 2.1 billion
    Islam: 1.5 billion
    Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist: 1.1 billion
    Hinduism: 900 million
    Chinese traditional religion: 394 million
    Buddhism: 376 million
    primal-indigenous: 300 million
    African Traditional & Diasporic: 100 million
    Sikhism: 23 million
    Juche: 19 million
    Spiritism: 15 million
    Judaism: 14 million
    Baha’i: 7 million
    Jainism: 4.2 million
    Shinto: 4 million
    Cao Dai: 4 million
    Zoroastrianism: 2.6 million
    Tenrikyo: 2 million
    Neo-Paganism: 1 million
    Unitarian-Universalism: 800 thousand
    Rastafarianism: 600 thousand
    Scientology: 500 thousand

    Put religion aside and get on with the job you are being very well paid (judging by your expenses) to do. Keep your mouth shut and listen to what you are being told. Nuff said.
    PS Catriona Ruane beat u hands down yesterday. You were an embarassment to the people of Northern Ireland.

  • Damian O’Loan

    The right to freedom of expression is inalienable. To exercise that right in the way our first lady MP, MLA did, in light of the vicious attack on Stephen Scott, is irresponsible.

    Let’s be clear though – Iris Robinson is not asking for more freedom of expression. In calling for homosexuality not to be represented in the media, in appealing to a mythical moral majority, she seeks regression in equality legislation to reflect her own fundamentalist values.

    She is bound by the following:

    “Members have a general duty to act in the interests of the electorate and the community as a whole”

    Her remarks do not sit comfortably this duty, shall we say.

    Her refusal to meet Gay Rights groups was because she ‘didn’t need to put her hand in the fire to get burned.’ Has sexual orientation become infectious? Or is this an irrational fear?

    She has a husband who could, faced with weak opposition, deliver her wishes – the OFMDFM is responsible for equality and human rights legislation. He needs to assure the “whole community” that he neither shares his wife’s views nor agrees with her timing, and that he is committed to the promotion of the rights of the gay community.

    Further, while I appreciate the legal risks Slugger O’Toole exposes itself to, and without financial compensation, I would submit that the DUP’s litigious reputation has silenced legitimate disagreement in public fora before. Their voters need to understand this clearly. These online fora are an important place for this suppressed conversation, and I would urge this site to permit the wide range of opinion evident on most of its threads.

  • Turgon

    Mick,
    A very balanced and reasoned blog and before anyone else asks me I have no intention of getting involved in the debate over on the other thread.

    There is, however, an utterly cynical and Machiavellian way to explain what happened yesterday.

    Peter Robinson made a pretty liberal and consensual speech as Mick has noted. Now leave that to one side for a moment.

    Remember that the Robinsons are not Free Presbyterian, Independent Methodist, Reformed Presbyterian or any of the other hard line traditional fundamentalist denominations. They are Pentecostalists if memory serves me correctly. Now non fundamentalists may not appreciate it but Pentecostalists are sometimes viewed with a little mistrust by some of the other fundamentalist groupings especially in some of the country areas. One of the major reasons being perceived social liberalism. People have already commented on the fact that Iris (a good looking middle aged woman) wears quite flattering clothes: her clothing choices would be much younger and indeed a bit racier than those of my relatives even if they are much younger. Also Pentecostalists would sometimes be more liberal on things like divorce etc.

    Now is it possible (just possible) that this was timed. Peter makes a liberal speech: the Robinsons might be seen as a bit socially liberal and of course there is another political party about led by a nice farmer’s son and Free Presbyterian namely Jim Allister.

    As such now we have Iris making a good ultra hardline set of comments. It may do her harm but it may actually play better with some of the support base (both DUP members and ordinary supporters) than people think. Peter can deny all knowledge and keep a polite silence on the whole thing but the target audience: the Free Ps, Indy Methodists, country fundamentalist Presbyterians etc. will have heard the message loud and clear. Peter cannot say it but he is one of us.

    Elenwe (who has just read this comment) asks if the DUP have their own Allister Campbell: they might have.

  • ZoonPol

    The freedom of expression carries with it duties and responsibilities. All public representatives ought to be under a higher duty of care than others within our society and as such she should have protected the reputation and rights of the person in question rather than criticizing him.

  • Turgon – that’s the reason for the outburst I’ve heard too; that and trying to bury Peter and Martin’s visit to Downing Street.

    But if you think that they only could have come up with this strategy early yesterday morning when the news of the attack on Stephen Scott in Ballyduff broke, then if our theory is true, they basically piggy-backed a ‘bury bad news’ story on somebody being beaten half to death.

    Which, if you’ll pardon the French, has fuck all to do with Christianity under any moral code I can see.

  • DUP rule = Rome Rule

  • ZoonPol

    Concubhar O Liatháin: the irony is not lost!

  • Nat

    Iris please have a duke at this and advise. I’m not sure if you are as up to speed on religious doctrine as you are in psychiatry, but give it your best shot before you head out shopping on expenses this afternoon. Thanks luv.

    – When I burn a bull on the altar of sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev. 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. they claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

    – I would like to sell my future children into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, I’m concerned as to what would be a fair price for them?

    – I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev. 15:19-24) The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

    – Levicitus 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided that they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans but not Canadians. Why can’t I own Canadians?

    – I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states that he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

    – A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev. 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t disagree. Can this be settled on Monday’s Nolan?

    – Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I do have to admit that I wear glasses from time to time. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

    – Most of the guys I know get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

    – I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

    – My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does my aunt by wearing garments made of two different kinds of threads (cotton & polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of rallying the whole town together to stone them (Lev. 24:10-16)?

    – Couldn’t we just burn them to death in a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws (Lev. 20:14)?

    I know the religious right has studied these things extensively, so I know they can help with these questions. Thank you CDUP Christian Democratic Unionist Party for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging… Especially when it comes to gays.

    Always remember Iris, when someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, simply remind them that Levicitus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.

  • SHanna

    Nat – any half baked theologian could give you an answer to your queries. Try Esword commentaries which are free and stop wasting our time on questions that have been answered centuries ago. You may think you are clever but you are simply re-heating supposed difficulties of the Voltaires of this world.

    Mick Fealty – what is wrong with Iris imposing her religious morals on her politics. She was elected as a Christian and has not deceived anyone. Also, what moral base should she draw from to deal with questions such as this? Your answer seems to be that of Mick and his mates at the Crown pub.

    I am sorry but I would rather Iris based her moral views on a Book that has stood the test of time and is the foundation of our Judaeo-Christian Society than the collective mean of Mick Fealty, Chris Donnelly (and his SF/IRA nutting pals).

    Finally, your whole argument about leadership is spurious – As Papa Doc pointed out when he took office that he was not elected on mandate to represent everybody. It is a logical contradiction as you cannot please everyone all of the time – for instance if a politician supports abortion he/she is not representing those who are against abortion (which interestingly most of our politicians are allowed to say they are in agreement with).

    Mick et al – please go away and do some joined up thinking on subjects like these before rambling along repeating the mantra of the guardianistas and your pub peers.

  • SHanna

    “Members have a general duty to act in the interests of the electorate and the community as a whole”

    Damian O’Loan clearly has not got beyond kindergarten logic. Since when is expressing a view that sodomite behaviour is perveretd not in the interests of the electorate as Iris is constantly elected on such a mandate. Also, if she believes that it is in the interests of the community for people to be in stable heterosexual marriages (and all the evidence suggest she is right), why could she not say this? Would Iris be worng to say she is against bigamy as under your convoluted logic that would mean she fails to represent that section of our community that wants consensually to engage in this?

  • percy

    its very sad to hear such viciousness against a percentage of the population, who just want to live in peace with their neighbours.
    SHanna what have gays ever done to you?

  • steve48

    do not forget that this women craves the position of health minister. In the event that she ever attained that position would she instruct her department to recruit psychologists to treat people with what she considers a ‘curable’ condition.

  • jerryp

    Shanna, I’m afraid I’m not acquainted with half – baked theologians, so you might do me a favour and answer the questions yourself about apparent inconsistencies in the interpretations of the Bible please.

  • SHanna,
    I must have missed the plank on sodomy in the DUP’s last election manifesto, could you please point me in the right direction to find it. Also thank you for pointing out that sodomy is as large a threat to marriage as it is. Here I was thinking that other women were a danger, never knowing that it was really other men that I should be worried about. Also, if a husband and wife engage in sodomy is that a threat to society and does it also count as a perversion as my Webster’s dictionary has the first definition listed as “anal or oral copulation with a member of the opposite sex“.

  • Comrade Stalin

    shanna,

    The point here is – why do people selectively accept this particular part of Leviticus ? I know you’d prefer to run away from that, but considering that a man was beaten almost to death ..

    Why do you think it is your business to take any interest in other people’s sexual proclivities ?

  • nigel

    92 per cent currently voting against Iris on the News Letter website!

  • willis

    “Now it would be a great tragedy if all our politicians were to bury their individual conscience for the sake of the so-called ‘greater good’. But here’s the rub. How does a fundamentalist politician deal with being a legislator and being a believer at the same time?”

    Indeed

    While not exactly what you would call a fundamentalist, this man has made a more profound stab at it than most. His successes and his failures are all of a piece.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jun/07/usforeignpolicy.jimmycarter

  • percy

    Iris Robinson is a Fascist!

    One NI gay man’s view on Youtube

  • Fertin

    I don’t take seriously those who are “tolerant” of homosexuality unless they are also complete social libertarians and support, for example, adult consensual incest, non cruel bestiality, and are also open minded about paedophilia, sympathetic to Jonathan King etc. If they are not approaching the subject from a reasoned position of libertarianism then they are just the same as “homophobes” but have a slightly different sense of what is sexually acceptable. They are just brainwashed by the BBC and it’s Guardian reading employees rather than being brainwashed by a church. Same difference.

    One of the best articulated cases against social libertarianism I have read is here,
    http://www.janegalt.net/blog/archives/005244.html

  • Comrade Stalin

    (slowly backs away) okaaaay ..

  • Simon

    Whats the craic about spanking and Peter Robinson. The bbc nolan board has a few references to this. Am I missing something?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Robinson’s a formidable political bruiser. He could beat anyone in the DUP.

  • Garibaldy

    Suzanne Breen did an interview with Iris a few months ago at most in the Sunday Tribune that dealt with certain rumours about Peter. I think it was on Nuzhound if people want to check the archives there, or maybe the Tribune website.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I think this is the Tribune report you mention. Iris denied the allegations and says that they were spread by British intelligence. I first heard these rumours about 12 years ago, so it’s true when they say they are long-standing.

  • Nat
  • Garibaldy

    They’ve been doing the rounds since the mid-80s I think.

  • TAFKABO

    Strangely enough,for a rumour supposedly started by the Brits, I only ever heard nationalist and republicans repeat it. Similarly I heard other rumours about Unionist politicians drunkenly beating their wives and having their personal protection weapons removed beacause they were judged to be a danger, also rumours about paedophilia and unionist leaders, always from republicans and nationalists.
    In all honesty I never heard similar stories from Unionists about leading nationalists or republicans.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I only ever heard nationalist and republicans repeat it

    I’ve heard it repeated by people who were not nationalists or republicans, and it’s Iris herself claiming that the Brits were the source, so I don’t know what this proves.

    I would point out that there are many rumours about nationalist politicians as well (past and present) concerning alcohol problems and other matters.

  • TAFKABO

    I wasn’t really trying to prove anything, just noticing the anomaly of a tale begun by the Brits, yet spread by nationalists.

  • abucs

    Thanks for the post Fertin, i think it makes a lot of sense.

    leaving the gay marriage issue aside i can give another example of liberal reform that sounds great but has a negative outcome.

    I know quite a few men who won’t get married because they know that if they do the wife in 12 months can just decide to end it and get half of his wealth. If babies are involved it goes up to 70%. Where i am living now there is a rule that if you live with someone for 12 months then that is counted as a defacto marriage and they are entitled again to 50% of the others wealth.

    A few guys i know make sure that the girl they are with does not live with them for more than 12 months in order to escape this and as such they see relationships as temporary pleasures and not involving children.

    And yet the original arguement of child and wife/husband maintenance for divorced couples sounds completely rational and appropriate. Oops. :o)

    Back home a beautiful Thai girl who was going through a seperation told me “You know, in this country, a woman doesn’t need a man”. She sussed it out pretty quickly.

  • Comrade Stalin

    abucs,

    Given that women are increasingly working and supporting themselves, and in many/most (?) cases bringing in similar amounts of money as their partners are, the idea of women divorcing and taking all “their” money seems grounded in views from a generation ago. I know of such a case; as part of the divorce, very few assets changed hands because both were independently wealthy anyway.

  • abucs

    I guess there are different situations Comrade.
    If the people getting married have similar wealth backgrounds (not always) then it makes sense in you saying that it is a different situation.

    But regarding that situation then, could not a case be made that past social laws that have increased divorce rates are also now encouraging both partners to be independantly wealthy as an insurance policy against the likelyhood of marriage failure ?

    This insurance policy might make us more educated and wealthier (good) but may have a compounding affect of delaying children thus pushing up house prices that then cause others to delay having children and around it goes ?

    The people who spend all their money when they are young then are disadvantaged and have to work and delay having children all the more.

    Then even having no children is seen as acceptable (the state and migrants will pay for pensions etc) and people prefer the ‘lifestyle’ option and as the article suggests the whole systems skews, in this case in favouring to have few (if any) children on average which seems to be the case everywhere in Europe these days.

    Not having an abundance of children in a society changes that society tremendously in my opinion regarding social interacting of families, the notion of innocence and selfessness etc. It also affects the view of a shared idea of bringing up the next generation and a practical look into the past on what works and what doesn’t instead of a merely theoretical view of culture and history as what works for me as an individual.

    Sorry, just a whinge against well meaning liberals. I’ll stop now and go away.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    “I am sorry but I would rather Iris based her moral views on a Book that has stood the test of time and is the foundation of our Judaeo-Christian Society …”

    Doh!… SHanna ye should check out the old adversaries of the established faiths, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Hume, Darwin, Freud, Sartre, Camus, Dawkins, etc,….If ye can take in what they say and still maintain your religious beliefs, well fair play to ye! But some how I think your devout religious viewpoint may be challenged and altered forever.

  • Comrade Stalin

    abucs,

    But regarding that situation then, could not a case be made that past social laws that have increased divorce rates

    This analysis is extremely simplistic. What is happening is that people now have the freedom to divorce, a freedom which at one point was less accessible. To me a marriage is like any other contract. You better make damn sure you know what you’re doing before you sign, and my prescription concerning divorce rates is fairly simple – there are a lot of stupid people out there, signing the line which is dotted without stopping to think about the consequences. If one or both of you decides to breach that contract, then you’re going to suffer for it. So if a wealthy person chooses to marry a non-wealthy person, and they’re not willing to run the risk of losing their possessions if it all goes wrong down the line, they have the choice not to get married in the first place. Why legislate to try to correct people’s stupidity ?

    The other side of the coin that your analysis does not seem to consider is that it is now easier for people to get out of marriages which are abusive or unfulfilling in some way. Should people be prevented from getting out of a relationship which is abusive, or which has failed in some other way ?

    I have a fairly libertarian view on this, I do not see why the state needs to regulate marriage at all, outside of contract law. It’s none of anybody’s business.

    are also now encouraging both partners to be independantly wealthy as an insurance policy against the likelyhood of marriage failure ?

    If people are really worried about this then they shouldn’t be getting married. Outside of that, there are pre-nuptial agreements. In any case, I don’t think it works quite like this. Yer woman didn’t get half of all of Paul McCartney’s wealth, did she ?

    This insurance policy might make us more educated and wealthier (good) but may have a compounding affect of delaying children thus pushing up house prices that then cause others to delay having children and around it goes ?

    A gross oversimplification of the issue.

    The people who spend all their money when they are young then are disadvantaged and have to work and delay having children all the more.

    The difference is that more people actually have money when they are young, which wasn’t the case a generation ago. Do society adapt to the circumstances of the people living in it, or should we curtail and control people’s lifestyles in order to shoehorn it into an outdated conception of what a society should be ?

    Then even having no children is seen as acceptable (the state and migrants will pay for pensions etc)

    I don’t think this is likely to be government policy any time soon. The tax system provides significant transfers towards people who have children.

    Sorry, just a whinge against well meaning liberals. I’ll stop now and go away.

    I don’t have a problem with your opinions and I can’t say “you’re wrong”, who knows ? Instinctively I think the idea that there should be legislation or other means to “encourage” or otherwise control people’s behaviour in order to fit into handed-down definitions of “morality” or whatever else to be somewhat abhorrent.

  • Different Drummer

    Mick I think you and the posters are to be commended for trying to get to where the extreme ideas of the DUP (and their revival by people like Jim Allister) come form.

    Fundamentalism is part of it – that existed in parts of Brimingham (UK) in the 1960s – the sort of conditions that produced the ideology of Mary Whitehouse and Enoch Powell so it’s not unique to here.

    But I think there are connections that people miss. One Youtube protester says that IR is a fascist – I beg to differ.

    The from of extremism that IR represents is more akin to the more extreme forms of monarchism that you still find in France and Spain.

    In France their are several far far right groupescules who plan for the return of the monarchy but they are of no consequence now of course.

    In spain however the Carlists sect fought three civil wars and the Spanish Republic for their view of monarchy – they did not get their candidate in but Franco like to use them as shock troops to destroy the elected republic.

    Ulster Loyalism is an extreme reactionary monarchist sect that uses paramilitray means to oppose modernity.

    That will exist no matter how many speeches Robbo makes.

  • McKelvey

    “Doh!… SHanna ye should check out the old adversaries of the established faiths, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Hume, Darwin, Freud, Sartre, Camus, Dawkins, etc,….If ye can take in what they say and still maintain your religious beliefs, well fair play to ye! But some how I think your devout religious viewpoint may be challenged and altered forever.”

    Speaking personally, reading Nietzsche didn’t so much change my viewpoint on God or religion, but it did change my view on the foundations of morality. Reading Freud can undermine religious belief until one reads Jung.
    It’s somewhat ironic that you mention Hume and Darwin, because they were themselves believers.
    Sartre wasn’t a believer until death came near, then he wanted a priest to hear his confession, strange for a man who thought all existence to be an absurdity.
    After I read “The Stranger”, my view of God hadn’t changed but my view of humanity was forever altered.

    Lastly, Richard Dawkins, when he discusses religion, reads like an angry,demagogic, fundamentalist preacher drowning in waters completely out of his depth.

  • Different Drummer

    I agree McKelvey

    It is not about religion or fundamentalism but a combination of orange and extreme monarchist ideas – the ideas of a sect.

    BTW religion has many radical aspects that the DUP and Ulster Loyalism don’t share with other believers one being cutting a Kings head off.

  • Turgon

    Different Drummer,
    I have avoided most of these discussions for a number of reasons. I would, however, point out that some parts of Ulster fundamentalist Protestantism are not actually that far from “Our Chief of Men” (Cromwell). Certainly there is a feeling of the need for a “covenant” between monarch and people and indeed government and people. I accept that this is a pretty nuanced argument which is not immediately apparent on the 12th etc but there is a strong streak of “There is none king save Christ alone” in fundamentalist Protestantism.

    Anyhow good to see you back on slugger; I hope you are keeping well.

  • Different Drummer

    Yes Turgon I thought about that after I posted.

    It is one of the ironies of history that orangeism is not what people think it is. Everyone of learning knows it was really Papist plot to introduce liberalism to Ireland – well England at least.

    That’s as maybe safe to say this was and is not another England or Holland where getting ride of reactionary (imperial) rulers lead to the founding of modern liberalism and a liberal state like England and Holland somehow we missed out on. That’s a shame isn’t it. Orangeism and our own version of fundamentalism had has other aims which are incorrigible.

    You are a good example of that

  • RepublicanStones

    The roumour to my knowledge wasn’t started by the Brits, but actually originated from someone who worked in a womans shelter Mrs Punt checked into one night…..

  • RepublicanStones

    Can we also start a *rumour* that i check my spelling before posting…..

  • Damian O’Loan

    SHanna,

    ” “Members have a general duty to act in the interests of the electorate and the community as a whole”

    Damian O’Loan clearly has not got beyond kindergarten logic. ”

    I put that in quotation marks because it is from the Code of Conduct for Assembly members.

  • abucs

    I agree with a lot of what you say Comrade.
    My thoughts are not so much that the state directly interferes with social institutions (like marriage) although they do sometimes.

    The thoughts are that by tinkering with things such as tax rates, legal definitions (of marriage), subsidies and settlement entitlements it protects people from what you called ‘their own stupidity’. But only to the extent that it lets the next generation be a little more stupid with their decisions that then causes more protective legislation until the system breaks due to indirect consequences of a compounding affect of stupid decisions.

    I worry that many people use ‘the state’ by believing they can tinker with its laws as a way of protecting stupid decisions and creating artificial views and lifestyles that are not only accepted as ‘normal’ but will in the end be unsustainable causing either a huge backdown (pain) or an expanding power of the state to deal with the economic and social problems that will arise (more pain).

    This is done under the guise of social justice, diversity and freedom. There is no doubt a lot of good comes out of that, but i don’t think it is a one way street.

    It used to be if we had social problems we acted together to do ‘the right thing’. Now we look to tinker with the states laws and entitlements to do ‘the right thing’.
    I’m not sure that will be sustainable.

    As you say, who knows ? But something to think about perhaps ?

  • ZoonPol

    In the IT age that we live in maybe we should have a referendum about these things …

  • Different Drummer

    Well ZoonPol all other Stormont parties have issued statements condemning Iris – of most interest is the Ulster Unionists who seem more worried that she has done damage to Ulster’s reputation mmmmmmm…..

    I doubt also that this years Gay Pride march can be gaged from commenting on yet another DUP’s politicians’ homophobia.

    As I said before P______B______ should be Chief marshal – that would keep everyone happy.

    Well everyone accept the RHC,UDA,UFF,UVF, UYM the OO- and the DUP.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    McKelvey, it’s sounds as if you have made an unquestionable ‘Leap of Faith’.

    BTW, I addressed shanna’s religious convictions and you answered it.

    “Speaking personally, reading Nietzsche didn’t so much change my viewpoint on God or religion, but it did change my view on the foundations of morality.”

    You claim that reading Nietzsche did not change your viewpoint on god but yet it did change your view on the foundations of morality. This seems contradictory.

    Nietzsche claims that morality and religious institutions attempt to subdue and enslave the human will (or desire). That morality is subjective and partisan. How would you relate this then to Iris Robinson’s own ‘morality’.

  • Different Drummer

    abcus says his posts are:

    “just a whinge against well meaning liberals. I’ll stop now and go away.”

    We shall see who will be the victims and the victors soon.

    If Iris goes it won’t be fundamentalist Loyaism under the boot or the gun.

  • Peat Blog

    The Theocratic Unionist Party will ultimately be torn apart apart (as will Ourselves Alone) as there are many “secular protestants” (if that isn’t a contradiction in terms) who could never support the mad mullahs who believe in literal interpretations of the bible (how many times has it been translated?). Unfortunately, many of that particular type of protestant, subscribing to a more liberal British view of life, often don’t vote. But, if they get sufficiently annoyed by the rantings and policy decisions of the mullahs, maybe they will get off their asses next time round…

  • Driftwood

    But who to vote for Peat Blog?
    Seriously contemplating Alliance for 1st time.
    The UUP needs to rebrand as a secular centre ground party, and maybe embrace Alliance. The DUP are short termists. The TUV are going for lowest common denominator Unionism, and that’s the road to nowhere.
    I think Nationalism and Unionism are in a state of flux. Parochial politics is becoming irrelevant.
    I would welcome Conservatives, Labour (groan), FF anf FG to add to the equation here. Where are we going?. Is the provincial backwater still an option? Maybe it is, certainly seems so. How long can that subsidy last?

  • Peat Blog

    Don’t have much choice that’s for sure. Would consider Alliance but not really certain what they stand for (except for not being the other parties) and the Greens don’t quite hack it yet.

    Would not vote for the Soldiers of Destiny but would welcome them to the north as they could seriously shake up the political scene. I imagine that the two unionists (DUP and UUP) would have to merge and with three all-Ireland parties an “executive” government might finally emerge rather than an absurd and undemocratic enforced coalition.

    This place reminds me of the ex-communist states of central and eastern Europe where the communist politicians simply took other forms following the fall of the iron curtain but ultimately remained in power. We still have many of the same political personalities that we had during the troubles. It’s just not healthy…

  • Different Drummer

    To Driftwood & Peat Bog

    I think Alliance have not done a bad job in distancing themselves from the DUP/SF pact.

    But I’ll say this the gay issue will be a general election issue particulaly if Iris goes. As Jim Allister is waiting to say that it was the DUP that gave the gay sector money which will serve his aim and purpose: to be the new reactionary force in Ulster politics.