DUP move into pole position in London?

According to the Times: “Sweeteners for Northern Ireland and a peerage for the Rev Ian Paisley, dropping sanctions on Cuba and the governorship of Bermuda were among the offers the Government is thought to have used to secure Gordon Brown’s victory in yesterday’s vote.” Not only that, but also:

…it emerged that the DUP had been given an assurance that backbench MPs seeking to use the embryology Bill to remove the bar on abortion in Northern Ireland would be stopped.

And:

Also on the DUP wish list were the profits from the sale of redundant Ministry of Defence sites and a £200 million water bill to be funded by London while the Province introduces its own water charges. Third on the list was a financial shortfall identified for the transfer of policing and justice powers to Stormont as part of the devolution measures.

It may not be not pretty, but in the wider world it is called exerting maximal political leverage. A point not lost on MP and new Environment Minister Sammy Wilson:

“The good thing for us is that it proves now beyond doubt that the DUP MPs are crucial and we will be reminding them of that on each and every occasion that that comes into play, which will probably be more and more often now.”

Ever ‘Kings of the Message, it was left to Willie McCrea to keep the party’s options open to a likely future Tory government:

“Our natural home would have been with the Conservatives … but Northern Ireland has faced 35 years of terrorism. Many of our members know personally what it’s like to face terrorism. It’s not a matter of playing a political game.”

This move was not exactly decisive in terms of the provenance of Northern Irish influence at Westminster. But it flags to those previously complacent elements within the Republican movement that the easy gains amongst the liberal London establishment of the Blair years are now over. With Powell and Blair gone from Number 10, the DUP have shown themselves more than capable of playing hard ball where and when it counts.

Game and set perhaps. But the Northern Irish match for dominant influence over hearts and minds has still has some way to run.

  • Dewi

    Shows how much Brown is panicking – a potential £1.2bn of concessions to the DUP….and I, for one, would have been astonished if they had voted against without a single concession.

    A peerage for Paisley? Lord Rabble Rouser?

  • picador

    Dewi,

    He was a liberal until he went to Barry – all sweetness and light. The Welsh forced him to become a Calvinist demagogue.

  • Dewi
  • Dewi

    “He was a liberal until he went to Barry”

    Barry has effects on people – note Gwynfor’s birthplace

  • McGrath

    Lord Snowballs

  • Dewi

    Or perhaps just Lord No

    John Hume to Paisley:
    “Ian, if the word ‘no’ were to be removed from the English language, you’d be speechless, wouldn’t you!” Paisley replied, “No, I wouldn’t!”

  • McGrath

    Lord Sponger

  • KieranJ

    Let’s stop the nonsense, Mick. Everyone on planet earth knows this six county area of Ireland is just a heartbeat away from becoming part of the Irish Republic.

    And the British government is cheerleading this position. Although they won’t admit it openly.

  • McGrath

    There is no nonsense KieranJ, there is an offset for the nonsence.

  • Cahal

    Ironic that we have ‘unionists’ calling the president a prostitute on another thread when it seems clear that the dup are the biggest Irish whores around.

    Now that we’ve established what kind of party the dup is, all that is left is to haggle over the price.

  • Itwaseverthus

    DUP supports internment without trial shocker

  • Different Drummer

    You write Mick:

    ‘Game and set perhaps. But the Northern Irish match for dominant influence over hearts and minds has still has some way to run.’

    Looks like Iris is safe for while….

    And SF have also to face up to this latest turn of events: Slim (Labour) London government’s means that it is the DUP who will be calling the shots now and their little game of chicken with London is well and truly over.

  • nectar

    Same old catholic whining.

  • pith

    Correct me if I am wrong but without nine DUP votes there would have been a tie. In accordance with precedent, the Speaker would then have voted with the Government so it would have won anyway.

  • Briso

    I think these concessions show that the days of the ‘zero-sum’ game are over.

  • agh

    Correct me if I am wrong but without nine DUP votes there would have been a tie. In accordance with precedent, the Speaker would then have voted with the Government so it would have won anyway.

    in that case it was the UUP that had the casting vote. Make no mistake the DUP would have supported the bill anyway. However, they managed to negotiate a tremendous financial package for the province as a whole. Beers all round?

  • pith

    Agh,

    Good point although that would apply to any individual MP. This is all very reminiscent of the Molyneaux UUP supposedly wielding influence over the Major government at the time of the Maastricht votes just a few months before the Downing Street Declaration.

  • Mick Fealty

    Correct agh. Here’s another piece of theoretical mathematics. If SF MPs had been in the chamber, things would have been more interesting.

  • elvis parker

    ‘Let’s stop the nonsense, Mick. Everyone on planet earth knows this six county area of Ireland is just a heartbeat away from becoming part of the Irish Republic. ‘
    Only an idiot could make that remark the day after the Labour Govt dances to a DUP tune

  • pith

    My point of course is based on the assumption that the DUP only turned up to vote with the government and that they would not have made the journey to vote against.

  • Amazing, absolutely amazing.

    Here we have a group of intelligent people believing, without question, what the Times says, using a load of cobblers fed from David Davis and Tory HQ.

    Did anyone doubt that, somewhere in the small print, Paisley’s price to go included a title? Likewise, the K for Keith ( Nigel) Vaz: am I unique in assuming that Keith’s affected grandeur would not eventually require at least such a handle?

    The water issue is hardly of recent vintage. It was going to be cleared up in the various on-going financial settlements anyway.

    I never realised, until you lot pointed it out, that the abortion vote was exclusively DUP: that’s not what it says in the Hansard voting records.

    As for miners’ compensation and Cuban sanctions (which is an EU, not a UK, matter), I regard both as twitches of socialist conscience, and long overdue.

    Which leaves two examples of sheer farce:

    * treating Diane Abbott as an authority on absolutely anything (except her own advancement and interest), let alone the Governorship of Bermuda. For reference, the present appointee has been in post since just last December, and the regular tour-of-duty (I think “duty” is involved somewhere) appears to be three years.
    * accepting and promoting the “cost” plucked out of the air by a Tory facing a tv camera.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Did anyone doubt that, somewhere in the small print, Paisley’s price to go included a title?

    Given that by precedent, ex-party leaders are offered a peerage anyway, wouldn’t it be silly for the DUP to buy into this ?

    I’d be very, very cross if my local MP told me that he was against the 42-day detention, but relented following concessions over Cuba and Bermuda. I’d far rather the bastard tell me that he voted for it because he believed in it, not because of some silly nonsense like that.

    Still, the House of Lords are going to vote it down, so it’ll likely get another day in the Commons, by which time the DUP will surely have another shopping list ready to go.

  • kensei

    Mick

    Game and set perhaps. But the Northern Irish match for dominant influence over hearts and minds has still has some way to run.

    Did at any point “Hearts and Minds” figure in this decision? It seems to me totally cynical on all aides.

    I’m not convinced this is a particularly great show of strength, either. Our MPs can score tactical victories when opportunities are presented and this one was an open goal. But there is nothing strategic about it. Do you think Brown is delighted that the DUP supported him, or peeved they extracted the highest price they could? In any case the Tories are the coming power, and could well have a landslide next time.

    Correct agh. Here’s another piece of theoretical mathematics. If SF MPs had been in the chamber, things would have been more interesting.

    Why, have SF a few more MPs hidden they haven’t told us about?

  • Delta Omega

    Don’t be suprised if more than Ian Paisley get a peerage out of this – surely wee willie has lined himself up for one in his private sessions with Gordon

  • Delta Omega

    By the way – being in pole position is no guarantee of winning the race – just ask Lewis Hamilton

  • Box Ticker

    According to the official Downing Street press release regarding last Friday’s talks involving Peter Robinson, Martin McGuinness and Gordon Brown,the following items were on the agenda:
    forward investment strategy for Northern Ireland; the economic situation;
    the devolution of policing and justice;
    paramilitary organisations;
    parades;
    former military sites;
    the Irish language
    and education;

    Which of these have been been ticked off by the DUP? Here are my thoughts.

    Investment/economic situation – financial help to lessen water charges impact – yes;
    devolution of policing and justice – delayed for a least one year – yes;
    paramilitary organisations; – Brown to publicly insist IRA Army Council disbands – yes;
    parades – Parades Commission to go at the end of this year – local councils to be given powers to make recommendations on parades (similar to Scotland) – yes;
    former military sites – All proceeds to be retained by the Executive – yes
    the Irish language – No Acht na Gaeilge through Wetminister – yes;
    and education – Retention of academic selection by those schools who wish to avail of it – yes.

    The Shinners must be regretting that they weren’t serious about pulling the plug last week. Game, set and match to the DUP.

  • spiritof07

    Whats the big deal here? The DUP stand ‘accussed’ of doing a deal for votes they were going to hand over anyway – that sounds like pretty good politics. Had they voted for 42 days (again – whats the big deal in holding terrorist suspects for 42 days??) wihtout squeezing concessions / money out of Downing Street then they should stand accussed of bad politics.

    As for Mark Durkan – he must have relished his return to the Mandela Hall days of ‘right on’ bullshit student politics. He should have joined the DUP in negotiating an even bigger package in return for votes.

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    Before yesterday no one had heard of Peter Robinson, Paisley’s long term shadow man. Now the Westminster village is barely talking about anyone else.

    And you don’t have to be liked to be influential. I the Machiavellian world of politics, respect is to be preferred to patronising affection.

    I would not over estimate the long term impact of this. But then again you cannot underestimate just how poor Unionism’s profile (individuals like Trimble excepted) has been in Westminster, particularly reflected in the way abstaining SF MPs ran rings around them.

    This was a cute power play that has gotten the DUP noticed. The anger from the Tories will likely be short lived when they sit down in the morning and give themselves a shake.

    I doubt the DUP will be off anyone’s radar from now until the next election. It all begins to put last week’s shallow playing of the optics into perspective.

    And it should not escape anyone’s notice that they are also getting in tight and close with Alex Salmond too. If were SF, I’d be worried about covering their last external base in Dublin. Given the way the party has chosen to sideline its sitting TDs in the Referendum debate, it’s not exactly a base of strength for them at the moment.

  • Mick Fealty

    Bugger. Sorry about the admin byline…

  • bo shank

    An imagined conversation from today’s Daily Telegraph online:

    “You sent for me, Prime Minister?”

    “Yes, Alistair. I just want you to take on board a couple of wee adjustments to the Budget.”

    “Again?”

    “Yes – got to keep abreast of events, you know. Here’s the list.”

    “Right… Wait a minute! £2bn more for Northern Ireland – isn’t that a bit steep?”

    “Not when we have to rebuild 143 Orange halls – with air conditioning, swimming pools and underground car parks – and subsidise 248 flute bands.”

    “You know I don’t usually question anything you say, Prime Minister, but why are we doing that?

    “It just seemed like a good idea. It happened to come up in conversation with my good friend Ian, as he has invited me to call him, when we had a chat a few hours ago. I was delighted to hear he regards 42 days’ detention as pathetically inadequate. Apparently in his province indefinite internment was the rule not so long ago.”

    “This isn’t anything to do with the vote in the Commons on terror suspects, is it?”

    “No, of course not, Alistair. It’s just that I’ve been guilty of overlooking the needs of the Protestant community in Ulster for too long. We all have. That’s going to change from now on. There are one or two constitutional changes too – nothing significant, of course.”

    “Such as?”

    “Oh, extending the provisions of the Act of Settlement to cover the Prime Minister as well as the monarch: ‘No Papist, nor person married to a Papist, shall become Prime Minister’, sort of thing. If only we’d had it in place in 1997. Still, at least it means he can never come back. You know I worry about that a lot, late at night.”

    “What’s that thing like a cart-horse’s collar you’re wearing, Prime Minister?”

    “Colourful, isn’t it? It’s a sort of livery company I’ve joined, just as a courtesy.”

    “The medallion says ‘Loyal Sons of William III Purple Bible and Crown Defenders’.”

    “Yes, it’s an – er – environmental group in Belfast. But never mind that, it’s time we had a drink to celebrate my historic victory in the House. Have a wee dram. I think you’ll like it – it’s called ‘Spirit of Drumcree’…”

  • j

    think brian feeney had a great article on this in the irish news yesterday.

    hope unionism has enjoyed its day in the sun.

    What a great and integral part of the United Kingdom we are. I look forward to 2024 when we can once again influence the father of all parliaments. It seems to happen about once every 16 years or so.

    I love living in this part of the UK. It just feels like such a great representative democracy.

  • Delta Omega

    If only, Bo Shank, if only….

  • nineteensixtyseven

    “(again – whats the big deal in holding terrorist suspects for 42 days??) wihtout squeezing concessions / money out of Downing Street then they should stand accussed of bad politics.

    As for Mark Durkan – he must have relished his return to the Mandela Hall days of ‘right on’ bullshit student politics. He should have joined the DUP in negotiating an even bigger package in return for votes.”

    What’s the big deal? That’s 6 weeks away from your job and your family without even knowing what you’re held for and maybe not even being changed with anything. It overturns Habeas Corpus, makes a mockery of British Common Law and rides over constitutional conventions. This bill makes a nonsense of separation of powers by giving parliament a say as a sort of Grand Jury in individual cases but they have to make a decision based on what the Home Secretary says; she won’t be able to say anything to prejudice a trial so that safeguard is useless. The bill allows the Home Secretary to sack a jury from an inquest and appoint her own coroner in a case that doesn’t need to have anything to do with terrorism so if someone dies in state custody or there are allegations of collusion out goes the jury on grounds of ‘national interest’ or something like that. You may scoff at the loss of your liberties and Mark Durkan’s attempts to persuade MPs to vote against but I for one am not laughing.

  • kensei

    Mick

    This was a cute power play that has gotten the DUP noticed. The anger from the Tories will likely be short lived when they sit down in the morning and give themselves a shake.

    Possibly. But if there is another vote and the DUP extract a few more sweeties and vote with the Government again, do you think it might begin to piss them off? What about the third time? Do you think Brown would still be happy to have more concessions extracted too? The Tories are likely to have a landslide next time round. This is tactical victory, because that is almost always the limits of our power in Westminster.

    And it should not escape anyone’s notice that they are also getting in tight and close with Alex Salmond too. If were SF, I’d be worried about covering their last external base in Dublin. Given the way the party has chosen to sideline its sitting TDs in the Referendum debate, it’s not exactly a base of strength for them at the moment.

    What is the strategy in cosying with Alex Salmond, exactly? To extract more concessions and independence from London, any of which can be vetoed for Ni in any case? As a nationalists I’m quaking in my boots at the prospect. How long do you think that Alliance will last when the referendum for Scots independence starts getting serious?

    The DUP have no seats in Dublin. SF do. They are likely to retain at least a couple, and could potential benefit form a successful No campaign and a downturn hitting the FF vote. In the long run SF is the one with the leverage there, and Dublin politics is much more fractious than London politics. Second, if FF do move up here, they’ll move into inevitable conflict with the DUP.

  • Blackmouth

    Paisley will get a peerage when he retires anyway. Any suggestion that a peerage was in the mix would be nonsense.

    Stark contrast between the DUP in 2008 and Molyneax when he had Major by the balls in 1993.

  • Driftwood
  • interested

    Its the dispicable Tory whinging that really winds me up.

    As if the Conservative Party have shown the slightest interest in Northern Ireland. If we had to rely on ‘Dave’ to save the Union then we would all pack our bags in the morning.

    I very much doubt that a peerage for Paisley was in the mix when you had £1.2bn + on the table. This isn’t the UUP they were dealing with you know.

    All that for Northern Ireland and the legislation will get bucked out when it reaches the Lords anyway.

    Everyone’s a winner.

  • mags

    A point of clarification for those on this thread that don’t seem to understand a basic majority vote system – if the DUP had not voted for, then it would NOT have been a draw with the UUP as the casting vote.

    If the DUP had not voted FOR, they would have voted AGAINST leading to a majority of 9 against the 42 days.

    The UUP vote is entirely irrelevant here since her positive vote is counted in with the 306 figure which is exactly matched by the 306 against.

    DUH!

  • Mick Fealty

    ken,

    The point about Dublin is that it is analogous to SF having abstentionist MPs. They have no direct power but, under Blair had a huge and disproportionate influence.

  • kensei

    Mick

    The point about Dublin is that it is analogous to SF having abstentionist MPs. They have no direct power but, under Blair had a huge and disproportionate influence.

    Which, if I follow your argument correctly, ran aground on the rocks of Parliamentary mathematics.

    To repeat:

    The DUP have no seats in Dublin. SF do. They are likely to retain at least a couple, and could potential benefit form a successful No campaign and a downturn hitting the FF vote. In the long run SF is the one with the leverage there, and Dublin politics is much more fractious than London politics.

    Same argument, fed back.

    I’m sure FF will take any opportunity to stuff SF they can. But FF need to keep an eye on the electoral math and their own base. I think even FG and Labour must keep an eye on the electoral math, and I doubt anyone will run this time on an SF bogeyman unless something big comes up before the election. But I could be wrong.

  • TAFKABO

    The footstamping and petulance on this thread is hilarious.
    I particularly liked the post demanding Mick refrain from postig the facts and stick to posting the conspiracy theory that a united Ireland is just around the corner.
    Great stuff.

    Credit to the DUP, they’ve played a blinder once aain and managed to upset jall the right people whilst winning some concessions for Northern Ireland.

  • kensei

    j

    think brian feeney had a great article on this in the irish news yesterday.

    Yup, up here:

    http://www.irishnews.com/articles/540/606/2008/6/11/590063_348174342970Unionists.html

    The first half is definitely right on the money.

  • TAFKABO

    Wow, that article by Feeney reaches depths of begrudgery and bitterness beyond even his normal standard.
    The DUP must be reading that and knowing they did the right thing if this is the reaction.

  • Mick Fealty

    Ken,

    “…if I follow your argument correctly, ran aground on the rocks of Parliamentary mathematics.”

    Aha. I see you’re not quite following me. Let me try another way. There is existential power and non existential power. The DUP exercised the former last night in Westminster because they seized an opportunity when it arose and effectively brokered power at a national level.

    Last week demonstrated clearly that SF’s power is purely non existential: ie it only resides in the capacity to tear things down, rather than through their capacity to effect change inside the system. I fully expect the DUP to exercise existential influence, not through non existent abstentionist TDs, but through those cross border contacts we all now (at least since SAA) love.

    IMHO, it was deeply unwise for them to flag that up so publicly to the rest of us.

    SF’s 4 TDs are currently a weakness – though with the successful rehabilitation of Mary Lou in the referendum debate, they may not remain that way forever – that the DUP will seek to use their senior intergovernmental channels to exploit. Dublin is a potential political playground for them for the next three to four years.

  • kensei

    Mick

    You are off on another of your mad ideas, then.

    There is existential power and non existential power.

    It’s irrelevant. Results are singular.

    Last week demonstrated clearly that SF’s power is purely non existential: ie it only resides in the capacity to tear things down, rather than inside the system

    A party that holds ministries, a veto and significant influence in local government holds more than “non existential” power. The ability to tear down the institutions or veto any decision is not “non-existential” (or if we are actually going to return to standard English at some point, “soft power” is normal term), any more than the nuclear weapon is a non-existential bomb. The soft power threat of it is simply a bonus.

    The fact that SF have not welded their power effectively recently does not demonstrate their power is purely ephemeral.

    I still see no strategy. What is the strategy behind partnering with perhaps the biggest threat to the Union that current exists? Where is the strategy in strengthening FF, who have declared their intention of marching North? Where is the strategy in propping up Brown, who’ll be out in 2 years?

  • If there is a danger for the DUP, it is that last night’s vote plays into an English nationalist narrative that didn’t exist in 1979 or 1997. The more they exercise their existential power the more that will be true.

    Come 2010 the Tories will have to find some kind of modus vivendi with the SNP, and however cordial relations SNP-DUP might be, ultimately, as Kensei says, their interest diverge pretty sharply.

    by 2011, there will be either an independence referendum or a Scottish election in which independence is a central issue.

  • Paul

    Feeney spot on, again.

  • Mick Fealty

    I’ll buy some of your criticism of my existential power line. They certainly do have existential influence within the Executive. Something Conor obviously gets, but Catriona signally doesn’t. But how do you explain the faux threats to tear it all down?

    “Where is the strategy in strengthening FF?” Did I say that? This is an interconnected universe. Gaining influence, is not the same as strengthening your opponent, or your ally for that matter (see my reply to Tom below).

    Tom,

    That may or may not be a gap in Unionist thinking.

    But when it was pointed out to them that they were cutting the size of the unionist vote by attacking the UUP and disillusioning moderate Protestants from for voting, the answer you consistently got was: well, what are we supposed to do about that?

    The calculation is likely to be, beef up local support, structure and power at the base, and power and influence externally where you can: “if the union breaks up elsewhere, we’ll be ready.” England is Labour and the Tories problem, not theirs.

    What most non Unionists often fail to understand is that Unionists are at base contractarians. They buy into the union so long as the union feeds and sustains their interests.

    The DUP is now talking up the number ten as the powerful figure, and riding on the media’s focus on nine. Expect Robo’s overture to the UUP to maximise their seats at Westminster to intensify.

    There is strategy there alright.

  • Breaking news: David Davis has resigned both as Shadow Home Secretary and as an MP, in order to fight a by-election on the issue of the 42 day detention limit.

  • Bigger Picture

    Watchman

    If only other people would resign their seats and fight an election on an issue they feel so strongly about eh?

    (Just joking please don’t start a debate down that path)

    Good move by Davis, not that it will be won on the 42 day question it is a safe Tory seat and he or someone else will get back in anyway. Good spin though.

  • kensei

    I’ll buy some of your criticism of my existential power line. They certainly do have existential influence within the Executive. Something Conor obviously gets, but Catriona signally doesn’t. But how do you explain the faux threats to tear it all down?

    Why don’t America bomb just Iran, rather than issuing strong words?

    “Where is the strategy in strengthening FF?” Did I say that? This is an interconnected universe. Gaining influence, is not the same as strengthening your opponent, or your ally for that matter (see my reply to Tom below).

    There must be a mutually beneficial trade. What are the long term advantages rather than short term partnerships in attacking SF?

  • kensei

    Mick

    But when it was pointed out to them that they were cutting the size of the unionist vote by attacking the UUP and disillusioning moderate Protestants from for voting, the answer you consistently got was: well, what are we supposed to do about that?

    And while I’m here – buh? Are Garden Centre Prods meant to be enthused by restricting civil liberties and blackmailing the Government?

  • Mick,

    I won’t try to trade jargon with you (because I usually don’t understand yours). But as I see it, you are basically saying two things:

    (1) The DUP, by pure luck, found themselves holding the balance of power at Westminster.

    (2) Sinn Féin are locked into the death-grip of the Stormont mutual veto.

    Now, if I have read you correctly, you think this gives the DUP more than just momentaneous power? I disagree. Most issues at Westminster will not lead to labour revolts, and so the DUP will soon be irrelevant again. But in the meantime they have angered their could-be friends, the Tories. And back at home, in Stormont, they too are locked in the mutual veto death-grip.

    So where is the strategy? (Please, in normal English this time, or even Irish).

  • Bigger Picture,

    If only I did have a seat. Although I might make a rotten politician as I’d always be ready to do an Enoch and go into the wilderness on a principle.

    I admire Davis hugely. He has done what few other politicians have ever done. It’s such a contrast to the DUPers who have behaved like a group of tarts at the Albert Clock. To think most of them are Orangemen who celebrate the Glorious Revolution – which was all about protecting historic liberties like habeas corpus.

  • Diluted Orange

    [i]Cahal

    Ironic that we have ‘unionists’ calling the president a prostitute on another thread when it seems clear that the dup are the biggest Irish whores around. [/i]

    Funny, how folk seem so surprised by the actions of the DUP, as if it were a bolt out of the blue for them to vote for NI-style internment, circa 1970, to be imposed nationwide. That’s the default position of the DUP – I doubt they could have been persuaded to vote the other way round by Cameron etc, so they may as well milk, what was bound to have been their principle stance anyway, as much as they can by getting any concessions from Labour, which have been put on offer.

    As, for Mark Durkin – does anyone take him seriously any more? His views on the matter are irrelevant – his party has neither the numbers nor the clout in Westminster to be given the time of day by anyone.

    One thing however that no-one has picked up on is Sinn Fein’s involvement in all of this: self-styled protectors of the Nationalist electorate. Which section of society over the last 40 years have the most to gripe about with regards to being imprisoned without a shred of evidence coming to light? Who are the people most likely to feel aggrieved about the introduction of this ridiculous 42 day rule – because they more than any other social group in the UK know how unfair this sort of legislation can be? Answers on a postcard … to SF HQ, West Belfast.

    Sinn Fein – representation that’s non-existent.

  • Mick Fealty

    Ken,

    “There must be a mutually beneficial trade.”

    Where was the beneficial trade last night? This morning the DUPs are up and Gordon is down. Didn’t stop the UK government being almost obsequiously grateful last night.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    Great thread this, but sadly it’s deteriorated into political upmanship instead of focusing on the real issue, detention of terrorists. 42 day detention is the preferred time needed to gather evidence from intelligence.

    Why should the ordinary citizen fear this law?, surely their actions are not going to arise suspicion from MI5 or MI6? The old saying of there’s not smoke without fire comes to mind.

  • Ulsters my homeland,

    Why should the ordinary citizen fear this law?, surely their actions are not going to arise suspicion from MI5 or MI6? The old saying of there’s not smoke without fire comes to mind.

    There are many examples that point to the error of your thinking. Have you never heard, for example, of the Maguires?

    In fact, wrongful convictions (not just arrests) that lead to deaths were one of the main reasons why the death penalty was abolished.

  • Mick Fealty

    Horseman,

    I wish I had time to do this conversation justice. In my Guardian piece today, I have tried to outline this limited feat. There is 18 months to run, 36 rebels and the rest of the house prepared to abandon their own principles to inflict further damage on Labour.

    I’d say that buys some temporary influence at Westminster, whether real or imagined. Temporary, and strictly local. But local is all the party needs.

    None of the party are under the illusion that this degree of influence will last. Just long enough to kill off any idea that Sinn Fein can expect a civil answer from Gordon the next time the party President knocks at the back door of Number 10.

    When the Tories get back in with an 80 + seat majority, this very professional little set piece will be largely forgotten and the DUP’s brief spell of Westminster glory will be over. Largely forgotten, but not entirely.

  • kensei

    Mick

    Where was the beneficial trade last night? This morning the DUPs are up and Gordon is down. Didn’t stop the UK government being almost obsequiously grateful last night.

    Gordon may be on a cliff, but if you dive into the ocean, and keep going down until you reach the point where blind fish see, you just about reach where he would have been at if he’d lost the vote.

  • Mick,

    … Just long enough to kill off any idea that Sinn Fein can expect a civil answer from Gordon the next time …

    I really don’t think that Sinn Féin ever expected such a ‘civil response’. Everyone knows GB is not TB. This little coup (which you are bizarrely impressed by, it seems) will simply reinforce SF’s belief that the DUP are not serious about power-sharing in NI, and will destroy the DUP’s possible future support from the Tories. A success for the DUP? Only in the very short-term.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    [b]horseman[/b]

    “[i]There are many examples that point to the error of your thinking. Have you never heard, for example, of the Maguires?

    In fact, wrongful convictions (not just arrests) that lead to deaths were one of the main reasons why the death penalty was abolished.[/i]

    There will always be cases where intelligence is wrong, but we’re talking about terrorists who go without speaking for weeks. Evidence has to be gathered through intelligence and it takes time. No-one should fear suspects being detained for 42 days, as long as there is proper checks in place to avoid arbitrary detention.

  • Ulsters my homeland,

    … we’re talking about terrorists who go without speaking for weeks.

    No we’re not. We’re talking about suspects who are legally innocent, and may be actually innocent too. Their ‘silence’ may be because they genuinely know nothing about what is being put to them.

    No-one should fear suspects being detained for 42 days, as long as there is proper checks in place to avoid arbitrary detention.

    I think that that is part of the whole point. 42 days is ‘arbitrary detention’, and all of the bells and whistles (signed off by a judge, etc) will soon be worked around, more’s the pity.

  • Mick Fealty

    Horse,

    “will destroy the DUP’s possible future support from the Tories.”

    How so? Cameron’s a deals man. Davies, as he is about to prove, is not. As I said on the Guardian site:

    “…you don’t have to be liked to be influential. In the Machiavellian world of politics, respect is to be preferred than the patronising affection often reserved for Northern Irish parties. This was a cute power play that has gotten the DUP noticed. The anger from the Tories will likely be short-lived when they sit down in the morning and give themselves a shake.

    I’ll tell you why I am bizarrely impressed by this ‘coup de grace’. Last week, the British press paid no attention to the nonsense from last week. This week, they have no choice. Perfect storm maybe. But one the party was ready to play none the less. Whether you agree with them on anything, you have to agree it was politics of an order entirely above that to which we have become accustomed.

  • j

    “Whether you agree with them on anything, you have to agree it was politics of an order entirely above that to which we have become accustomed”

    Explain what could have been different if there were 9 Unionist and 1 DUP MP?

    I cant imagine any other outcome (spare me references to 1992)

  • doctor

    “When the Tories get back in with an 80 + seat majority, this very professional little set piece will be largely forgotten and the DUP’s brief spell of Westminster glory will be over. Largely forgotten, but not entirely.”

    This at least makes a little more sense. I was getting confused with all the “game and set” talk, considering this was one vote and all the talk about republicans having the run of things at Westminster for the last decade. But I’m still not getting the purpose of a SNP-DUP alliance or why that should worry Sinn Fein.

    “Sinn Fein – representation that’s non-existent.”
    For the most part, a physical presence in Westminster has really not been necessary. Especially considering the access during the long Blair years. Considering this is probably the first time in well over a decade that a unionist mp hasn’t spent their time in the House of Commons passing non-binding motions condemning movies and interviews they find “offensive”, hiding behind parliamentary privilege to make allegations about people, or complaining when some senior British figure seemingly forgets that NI is part of the United Kingdom, I don’t see how unionist representation has overall been much better than republican non-representation.

    I’m not overly concerned about the specific concessions of any Gordon-DUP deal. If a few chinless wonders want to call themselves Lord Orange or Papa Smurf or some other irrelevant title, it’s no skin off my teeth. And if the British government want to realize once again what a gold mine in reverse NI is for them, let them donate another billion pounds.

  • kensei

    Mick

    I’ll tell you why I am bizarrely impressed by this ‘coup de grace’. Last week, the British press paid no attention to the nonsense from last week. This week, they have no choice.

    One is internal, one is UK wide. Of course they paid more attention. If this was an impressive power play inside the Assembly, they wouldn’t give a stuff. No one cares. In fact, I kind of hope SF realise they can’t run to the British Government anymore. Patronage politics is not good for republicans. Not good at all.

    Whether you agree with them on anything, you have to agree it was politics of an order entirely above that to which we have become accustomed.

    No Mick, it is precisely the politics to which we have become accustomed. It’s the process in a nutshell – “Give me x and I’ll do what you want”.

    Either you or I have been at the glue. I wish I knew who.

  • Mick Fealty

    Oh dear. This is like wading through treacle.

    Okay, assume there was no deal (I’m fairly convinced there wasn’t). Nevertheless, the DUP were at the centre of the success of this government vote. They wrongfooted the Tories to the extent they have just lost their impetuous shadow Home Secretary, widely regarded as their most heavyweight pol outside the ‘big two’.

    The potency of the move is the degree to which the DUP has made itself a player on the British Mainland. And the story is not even over yet. In fact it may barely have yet begun.

  • Mick Fealty

    Ken,

    We’ll know in the morning, whenever that comes… 😉

  • Blackmouth

    Lord Laird defying Sylvia Hermon on BBC Radion over 42 days. Excellent – is there an issue the UUP wont split on?

  • doctor

    “Okay, assume there was no deal (I’m fairly convinced there wasn’t).”
    OK, I’m fairly convinced there was a deal, because I don’t think Brown and the DUP played phone tag for weeks and had face face-to-face talks right up to the vote just to tell each other of the righteousness of their convictions. Based on past history of both the DUP and politics in general, deals do happen to secure votes.

    “The potency of the move is the degree to which the DUP has made itself a player on the British Mainland. And the story is not even over yet. In fact it may barely have yet begun.”

    It was important in one vote to date. Within a week or less the attention will most likely return to the larger power play between Brown and Cameron and forget about this particular chapter. Calling the DUP a “player” assumes they will continue to yield some unearthly influence on a regular basis. Brown can’t hold on for that long if he continually needs the DUP to save him on votes. And I don’t know if there will be that many issues where someone needs to come knocking on the DUP’s door for support. It’s especially ridiculous if you are assuming the DUP is doing all this based on “conscience” and not on a willingess to horse-trade.

  • Peat Blog

    All very cynical and depressing really – a pointless 42 day provision and slippery opportunistic politiocs on all sides.

    Best of all, of course, is the Theocratic Unionist Party once again showing the Mother Parliament and “wee taste of Ulster”. Beam me up, Ulster-Scotty.

  • kensei

    It was important in one vote to date. Within a week or less the attention will most likely return to the larger power play between Brown and Cameron and forget about this particular chapter. Calling the DUP a “player” assumes they will continue to yield some unearthly influence on a regular basis. Brown can’t hold on for that long if he continually needs the DUP to save him on votes.

    This.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Instead of the DUP “persuading” Brown to steer clear of introducing the 1967 Abortion Act in Northern Ireland, they should have been pressurising him into proactively addressing much more tangible, pressing issues; such as the lack of fit-for-purpose social housing in large swathes of loyalist working-class areas, in the year 2008…obviously the so-called “fundamentalists” (Willie McCrea etc) still have a huge say in the party, even though the “pragmatists” (Robbo, Doddsy etc) are meant to be running it.