The DUP, Diane Dodds and Germany

From the start of the nineteenth century until the end of the First World War Prussia was one of the major powers in Europe. After uniting Germany she managed to defeat the Austrians and the French. Prussia’s problem, however, was that she was always confronted by powerful enemies on both sides: the Russians to the East and the French (later joined by the British) to the West. The German high command produced a very well organised plan called the Schlieffen Plan in order to try to win a war on two fronts. They came remarkably close and had Britain remained neutral they would probably have won.The DUP has some similarities to the Prussians. They have managed to gobble up a number of the members of other unionist parties: gaining considerable talent along the way (Arlene Foster, Peter Weir and Nelson McCausland spring to mind if only because I know them). The DUP have always had to fight elections on essentially one front: against the UUP. Now, however, like the Germans in 1914 they have to contemplate a battle on two fronts against the UUP and TUV.

In selecting Diane Dodds I would suggest that they DUP are deciding it is more important to defeat the TUV than the UUP. I would submit that that calculation is the best one open to them but there is no way of knowing whether or not it is correct.

Dodds is in reality a reasonably good candidate. Her husband would have been better but Mrs. Dodds is far from a fool. She is well educated and as a number of DUP commentators have suggested on other threads she did capture a seat in West Belfast which is not an achievement to be laughed at. She also has name recognition. She is not a perfect candidate and can be a bit shrill when interviewed. However, as someone to take on Allister she is not ideal (I would have chosen Nigel Dodds or Nelson McCausland) but is reasonable and may be good enough. Certainly she is seen as on the harder line of the party which is important in preventing slippage to the TUV. In addition being from Rathfriland she is a country girl but now representing Belfast she has a foot in both town and country camps.

In choosing Dodds the DUP are signalling that they wish to destroy the TUV and Allister. I presume they regard the strategy as destroying the TUV and then returning to deal with whatever is left of the UUP. That may be a reasonable calculation as the UUP have until very recently looked dead in the water. I have been repeatedly dubious regarding the benefit to the UUP of their link up with the Conservatives and since they are running Jim Nicholson I think that that will further dilute any bounce from this. However, the public do seem to be a bit disillusioned with the current Stormont regime and the DUP being the leading unionist party have the most to lose from that. More liberal DUP supporters might feel that Jim Nicholson is not too liberal and modern and might switch allegiance to a comfortable UUP stalwart, the more so since a lot of those new DUP votes are old UUP. However, the prospects of a huge surge in UUP support, though not absolutely impossible, look remote.

An alternative strategy for the DUP might have been to choose a more liberal candidate and go hard after the UUP in the assumption that the TUV would lose anyway or would end up gaining Nicholson’s old seat. That, however, would have left the DUP with two enemies: one right and one left. As such destroying Allister is without doubt the right idea. The problem, however, is that really the DUP do not need to beat but annihilate Allister and the TUV and at the same time heavily defeat the UUP. That is a hard ask for any political party and there is a danger unless they achieve it they will remain surrounded.

The DUP is without question the strongest unionist political party. However, with an only fairly good candidate and a very difficult mission it is hard to know what the outcome will be. I avoid making political predictions but I am sure many commentators will: though that is more likely to be spin than real confidence (and I am sure I will do some spinning before the election is over). What will actually happen is in reality very hard to call. No one really knew what the outcome of the First World War would be either.

  • Earnan

    WIthout US intervention the Allies would have been forced to make peace.

  • George

    After uniting Germany she managed to defeat the Austrians and the French.

    Prussia defeated Austria in 1866 and went to war with France in 1870 allied with other German federations before a united Germany was declared.

    I don’t know how this affects your analysis of the DUP, TUV, UUP situation in Europe.

  • Turgon

    I know that but it is an analogy. The Shakespeare ones I was going to use were just too complex.

  • Mark McGregor

    Sorry Turgon. You start out with the wrong analysis. Dodds and the DUP aren’t fighting for the seat, Allister is and he will lose. The only thing in question is how his defeat impacts on Nicholson.

    Allister is a beaten docket the question is do the TUV take out more or less of the Unionist vote than the 4% that didn’t transfer at Dromore.

    They aren’t relevant in this election beyond if they transfer to Nicholson or not.

  • fin

    I’m not an expert on the inner workings/politics of the DUP, however, is it possible that all the senior players don’t expect Peter Robinson to last as leader and so want to be in a position to put their hat in the ring for a leadership bid as and when it arises. Leaving Diane Dodds the next obvious candidate.

  • 6cp

    Turgon, your historical allegories are quite delusional.

    Allister might syphon off enough votes to allow SF to top the poll, but the DUP will, with no doubt, top the unionist vote, transfer to the UUP, as usual, and Jim will return to the politically irrelevant existence he enjoyed before being plucked from obscurity by the DUP to stand in the last euro election.

    Brush up your resume, Turgon. The DUP might be able to find a wee position for someone as considerate and pleasant as yourself.

  • Bigger Picture


    As you and i have discussed it is where the momentum lies at the moment and i think that has influenced the DUP’s decision of candidate.

    The Ulster Unionists have gained a shred of relevance lately and to fight them would leave JA in a position to claim that he stands on the ground once held by the DUP and the DUP and UUP are now fighting for the liberal vote.

    Therefore they are striking at the candidate that has less momentum at present, Allister. I am not saying he has become irrelevant, but he has had less ammunition to attack the DUP with and i think his campaign at present is lacking focus.

    DUP will settle for SF, DUP, UUP in that order with Jim out, denounced as a vote splitter with the TUV left without any full time politicians.

    And quite frankly i think that is fair enough.

    and very well written article that resisted the mud slinging that others have distastefully involved themselves in.

  • Driftwood

    The european elections are a farce. They mean nothing. Hence Nigel Dodds putting his wife forward to add another carriage to the gravy train.
    Whoo Whoo!

  • Silver Line

    T think Turgon the real enemy is Sinn Fein three Unionist candidates means they could top the poll because of the TUV what ever happens Allaister will get the blame for this and the electorate wont forgive him

  • William

    What a long-winded analogy from Turgon. I though that the 4th June European Election was to elect three representatives from Northern Ireland, who would be out slogging their guts out on behalf of those who elected them.

    But no, Turgon, like all the DUPes is more interested in ‘getting the highest vote in the election’, ‘destroying the TUV / Allister’, ‘…dealing with whatever is left of the UUP’. No a mention of a policy on behalf of the farming community or fishermen who are especially hit by European policies, the numerous decisions made in Europe that impact on the general population, e.g. Post Office closures – a direct result of European Directives, etc etc.

    No DUPe policy is to DESTROY fellow Unionists. Little Ulster is their watchword, Ulster Nationalism their rationale. Lies their watchword. Stop Sinn Fein becoming the largest party in the election by voting for us. The same fear that they instilled in the electorate pre the Assembly Elections, whilst at the same time having a deal brokered through a RTE journalist to go into power with that party. Lies, half-truths and downright skullduggery is the mantra that the DUPes operate under.

    One hopes that the electorate will not fall for the DUPe scare tactics in June and return the two sitting Unionists [who are both hard workers within the European system] and Maginnis, the SDLP standard bearer. The last thing we need in Europe is that shrill voice carriage of the DUPe gravy train.

  • I like the Prussian analogy. Perhaps there is a better one.

    Think of the DUP as the Saxons with Peter Robinson as their leader Harold Godwinson. Imagine then Jim Allister as Tostig, Harold’s brother. Tostig fell out with Harold after Harold, then as Earl of Wessex, second most powerful person in England next to the Ailing King Edward (Dr. Paisley) supported the Northumbrian Rebels (Sinn Fein) against Tostig.
    So Tostig, having been deposed as Earl of Northumbria went away to get his revenge. He teamed up with Harold Hadrada (together they were the TUV).

    The Ailing King Edward died in January 1066 (Ian Paisley retires as leader) and was succeeded by Harold.

    Meanwhile, waiting in the wings were the Normans (the UUP). The leader of the Normans, William (Sir Reg.) was pieved because Harold betrayed a promise that he would get the throne of England (Sir Reg pieved that the DUP scuppered Fermanagh and South Tyrone in 2001) so he planned an invasion of England. Now William was shrewd enough to know that he would need allies and support so he sent is Ambassador Lefranc to negotiate the backing of the Pope (David Cameron). The Duke of Brittany (Owen Paterson) and the Count of Flanders (Jeff Peel)gave their support as a result and William put together his invasion force.

    In the summer of 1066 Harold was expecting an attack from William. He then heard about the landing in the North. The TUV had invaded England via the Tyne. Things initially looked good for Tostig but he and his army were later slain at the battle of Stamford Bridge (the European Elections).

    But another battle was soon to come, yes the Battle of Hastings (the General Election) where Harold met his nemisis. It is said he died in battle from a shot in the Eye. The Normans and the UUP were victorious.

    Hope you found that entertaining.

    To be honest, Turgon, you have presented the backdrop accurately. I agree with you that what happens is going to be very hard to call.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    The fear that stalks all Unionists is to sit atop the bonfire with the boy Lundy, the pope and other enemies of the Ulster people – as has happened to Trimble, O’Neill et al.

    There is of course about as much justification for Lundifying Robbo and Deputy Dodsy as there was for them Lundifying Trimble – ie none – but it is big Jimbo’s last of the dice and it is understandable that the DUP are cautious and will appeal to the herd instinct ( or tribal politics as Posh Boy David Cameron(PBDC) would and probably will observe) and Diane appears to have the correct credentials for the job.

    For Nationalists, ( just like during the later 20th century conflict ie the Emergency) neutrality is the best policy – with just the merest hint of smugness thrown in – well quite a bit actually.

    Turgon, Perhaps for your next Unionist historical anlalogy you might want to go look at one country tearing itself apart eg Rome*, Ireland post partition – as we enter into the last(?) stages of Unionisms long drawn out civil war.

    *Didnt Rome have two equally powered consuls as well – another historical analogy awaits.

  • It’s only hard to call if you approach it from a position of dislike for the DUP.

    DUP UU and SF will get the seats

    the only thing the DUP will concentrate on is topping the poll.

    It’s the sure fire way of getting the vote out.

  • Bigger Picture


    Just shut up there is more chance of Prussia being reformed than the UUP, TUV and SDLP picking up the three seats.

    Your complete lack of insight and political insight makes you look nothing other than foolish.

  • Carson’s Cat

    I’m never a huge fan of your analogies, because its usually near impossible to get one which actually fits properly. However, I do at least appreciate the effort and degree of thought which goes into stringing together the particular story you are telling.

    I suspect the DUP do want to deal with Allister at this election. I’m not sure if it takes complete humilation (what is that anyway?) of Allister for him to be effectively neutralised, and arguably they will do it come what may. Given that the DUP are in all likelyhoods going to win a seat and Allister isn’t, then how does he and his ‘party’ stay relevant after the European Election. It could be quite a while, given that a week is a long time in politics, even a ‘political lifetime’ perhaps, before there is another election and a Jim Allister without any seat isn’t even as big a draw as an MEP who hasn’t actually had his mandate tested yet.

    The one interesting thing which has developed over the last number of months is the real ‘unholy’ or uneasy alliance which has devevloped between at least supporters of the UUP and TUV, and I think is even spreading upwards. I’m leaving aside Burnside’s comments here given that without straying too close to playing the man – he clearly just hates the DUP with an unbridled passion and would support satan himself to unseat Willie McCrea.

    We’ve seen it here where the “two hardworking” unionist MEPs have their backs slapped across the UUP/TUV divide. I’m not sure that can really last as there is really little or nothing which connects PBDC’s (copyright Sammy McNally) crowd and the various elements which surround Jim Allister except they are all nominally unionist.

    At least Diane Dodds in the middle of that actualyl represents a fairly middle course. Someone with clear unionist credentials but who isn’t going to scare the more sensitive people who might now think that the UUP have frankly just lost the plot and might be taking another look at the DUP to see if they’re still as nuts as we thought they were a few years back.

    She’s tricky for the TUV to attack too strongly, as I think Turgon recognises. The Ulster Unionists tried the outright sexist approach on Arlene Foster in Fermanagh and even Jim Allister should be smart enough to avoid that – though his associates mightn’t. They’ll try the family/nepotism stuff, but I suspect that’ll be a one-day wonder in the campaign. That leaves Jim back to a campaign based around his record in Europe which might be wonderful, and even if it was, do people care?

    The only other thing he has is to completely focus on the nastyness of devolution and how SF are wrecking everything and that the DUP are the biggest lundies since the last lundies. Trouble is that even since Dromore there’s been a mini-revolution within the DUP, and that’s leaving aside the leadership changes. Most of Jim’s issues at that time have been dealt with and aren’t there for him to pick at any more.

    Arguably the only ‘failure’ of devolution is education, but academic selection is there – and the DUP will point to that. They also have the benefit that Ruane has become such a hate figure – even amongst the most middle-class and apolitical people I know – that the blame seems to be really personal to her and not on devolution per se.

    All of that is a symptom of Allister & the TUV’s problems post-European Election. Jim doesn’t even make the news now, he just reacts to bits of it and feeds off the odd bad news day for devolution. That just gets more and more difficult as time goes on, and is he really prepared to hang about as unelected Jim to fight his former colleagues?

  • stevey

    The DUP will come out on top with the highest unionist votes and secure a seat.But will it be enough to top the poll, im not sure. Its very hard to predict the damage if any, that Jim Allister will do.

    A bad result for Jim, will surely be the death of him and the TUV. If their votes do cause SF to top the poll, the unionist electorate will not forgive them.

    The UUPs candidate, is the usual man. One that appears a few months before a european election. Were has he been in the past few years? The same could be said for de Brun.

  • ZoonPol

    I suggest stevey that he (UUP Candidate Jim N) was either in Strasbourg or Brussels doing his full-time job.

  • ZoonPol

    Sorry i ment to say Jim NICHOLSON MEP

  • Cushy Glenn

    turgon, my fellow historical addict..

    Surely the obvious analogy for the DUP is the life of King George the third?

    To recap-
    Long serving old buffer who was quite popular in spite of losing America goes mad in old age; King is resolutely opposed to constitutional innovation such as Catolic Emancipation; his wife only person who believes in him while all around scheme and plot , all the while proclaiming their loyalty; happiest talking to trees; George is subjected to various indignities and quackeries to restore him to sanity ( removal of moderatorship etc) and his foppish son as regent endeavours to take the reins of power during his mental illness; has large family of extravagant scheming and worthless reprobates ( let’s call them the MLAs) , two of whom succeed him and drag the concept of monarchy into disrepute- The Prince of Punt and the Duke of Dodds….

    er… well that’s close enough for me

  • frustrated democrat

    It isn’t good to have your nuts in nut cracker as the DUP are finding out.

    The problem is they have no experience since they were always the nut cracker in the past.

    However it is a long road that has no turning………..

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    The other important aspect of this poll is as a demographics movement indicator.

    Do they give results by individual contituency?

  • Turgon

    I thought this blog was not particularly one sided: it was how I see the situation. I am sorry the historical analogy was less than perfect. In reality some like my analogies, some do not.

    Also I am really trying to be nice here and avoiding insulting you but actually I am not in the DUP.

    I am actually a paid up member of the TUV.

    The above blog was purely analytical: do not worry I have no doubt I will bne doing some proper TUV spinning before long.

    Incidentally do contact me sometime: the email address is real.


  • delta omega

    Hi Turgon

    Interesting analogy although I am not sure that a defeat for Jim Allister in June will end the TUV. At the end of the day, irrespective of the outcome of the European elections, there are still a number of us who were previously DUPed and have vowed never to so be again.
    Even if the TUV falls there will still be a group to the right of the DUP which will grow ever larger as the DUP moves towards the centre ground formerly occupied by the UUP.
    In the 2007 assembly elections the alliance only had 5.2% of the vote. If Jim can attract anything above 5% in the European Elections then the TUV still has life. Anything above 3% and they have a heartbeat, although the crash cart would need to be kept relatively close.

  • Greenflag

    Seymour Major

    Things initially looked good for Tostig but he and his army were later slain at the battle of Stamford Bridge (the European Elections).

    ‘Hope you found that entertaining.’

    Harold lost at Hastings because he had to rush back (200 miles ) from Stamford Bridge (not the one in Chelsea) in the north with an exhausted army.

    Had Harold some more preparation time he may have defeated William as his pike men kept at bay the Norman cavalry and only some indiscipline on his right wing by ‘impatient ‘ probably tired Saxons cost him the battle and allowed the Norman cavalry to surround Harold’s line .

    Had Harold won the English language would not be as it is today . It would sound more like a cross between Dutch and Friesian with about as much latin absorbtion as German . Neither Harold or his predecessors showed much interest in conquering Scotland or Ireland or even Wales and the chances are that long before the idea became ‘appealing ‘ or necessary for England’s defence the Irish would have had a centralised and unified State (Kingdom ) which would have crippled or slowed via Welsh and Scottish, French and other alliances any future westward expansion for any putative English Empire ?

    Soo the empire loving remainder of British blimpdom should be glad that William the Bastard annihalated the Anglo Saxons at Hastings for if he had not Britain would probably not ever have ruled the waves and they might all now be speaking Spanish or French or heaven forbid even some Irish /Welsh in the west and north of England ?

    I don’t know where the above scenario fits with the future of the TUV/UU/DUP over 1 seat in Europe but I remain comforted by the fact that the other 740 ? members of the European Parliament will not worry unduly which of the ‘barabarians ‘ from the outermost rim of the offshore island gets to plonk his or her fat arse on a plush seat in Strasbourg where they be happy to know they will be defended by an alliance of French and German soldiers 😉

    Analogies can be taken too far and although it may appear that history tends to repeat itself it does so in an oblique manner for the cast and technology has usually changed not to mention in the interim and even the religion and allegiances of participants .

    Loot (other peoples property or goods or women or gold ) as always remains the goal even if it’s disguised as something else e.g the ‘greater glory of God ‘ or other such rubbish 🙁

  • Turgon

    Delta Omega,
    I agree I think the TUV can survive a defeat. I am not at all sure we will loose in June: I think support is being seriously underestimated especially outside Belfast.

    A defeat will not end us but it does in fairness create a problem that we would nolonger have any representation beyond council level. With Brown likely to play the Westminster elections long and no Stormont elections in the near future the loss of momentum would be a proble. Not an insurmontable one but a real one.

    There is also a problem for all unionism if the TUV folds. Many (like you and me) will feel very disenfranchised and whilst I suspect I would eventually go back to voting I might leave it a while (except of course I live in F/ST and out here even death does not stop people voting). I do suspect, however, the grumpy garden centre Prod effect would result in a further fall in the proportion of the unionist electorate which votes.

    Right enough of honest analysis: I will stick to TUV spinning from now on.

  • CMB


    What a motley group they are on Councils, they do nothing for the image or standing of the TUV in Northern Ireland. I would not worry too much about the survival of the TUV after June.

    If he does not do the right thing to stand aside in a seat that he personally did not win in the first place as it is and was a DUP seat, should Jim A go to the polls on June 4th and forsure he loses surely they too will also disappear as they are being lead by a man who hates the DUP even more that he hates Sinn Fein. Have we not had enough hatred in Northern Ireland coming from Republicans in the last 40 years.

    Where do you think he or they will get transfers from? The electorate would be mad to vote for a movement that wanted to take us back to the bad old days of direct rule, he or they would not get my vote.

    I believe in time God will take care of Jim A, as a bible believing Christian the God he follows teaches him to love his enemies and surely there is no bigger enemy in his eyes than the DUP, even Sinn Fein does not come in for the vitriol that spews from his mouth against the DUP.

    No amount of your spin can take away the image that Jim portrays to the electorate, he comes across a hate ridden, spiteful, angry man who serves neither himself or Northern Ireland well.

  • Dewi

    Interesting on this topic by Burnside – Worth two quotes:

    “Until that law is changed we will have the frightening possibility of an IRA/Sinn Fein leader becoming First Minister of Northern Ireland. In the event of that happening Unionists would have no alternative but bring down the Assembly”


    “In the European Election under PR everyone should vote for all Unionist candidates. I look forward to Jim Nicholson being re-elected and also Jim Allister who I think has done a very good job as an independent Unionist MEP who at least stood by his principles, unlike most of his former colleagues.”

  • DC

    Dewi, David Burnside is the guy who caused so much havoc over the pressuring of Trimble in trying to keep symbols of the RUC and its name *Royal* in any new police service that having failed so miserably on such tokenistic grounds, frankly, I wouldn’t lend much weight to his thoughts.

    An opportunist you could say, but the reality is that after having exercised so much bad judgement in the past you can only try and recycle yourself so much until the public realise that you are just worthless, useless shit.

    Greenflag I like your take history and what could have been…I tend to forget entirely at times the old history such as that.

  • DC

    ..if I can follow on from this, it is a sign of the poor state of political affairs in NI when people like Burnside and Adams etc are still churning around in the system.

    The disconnect between what actually constitutes good political leadership and what we currently have purporting to be effective politicians is so wide and flabby that somebody somewhere is really going to have provide a few steroidal shots to strengthen it up a little.

    Sadly I rank Allister in the same camp as Iris Robinson, deeply embittered people, who may suffer a little from Wilhem Reich syndrome:

    Wiki: [Reich] argued that unreleased psychosexual energy could produce actual physical blocks within muscles and organs, and that these act as a “body armor”, preventing the release of the energy. An orgasm was one way to break through the armor. These ideas developed into a general theory of the importance of a healthy sex life to overall well-being, a theory compatible with Freud’s views.

    To sum up: a conservative view of sex and sexually repressive statements from Iris Robinson (and likely born-again behaviour) in particular creates frustration that acts like a poison that ruins the natural balance of life and judgement. It makes them ultra-unionists cranky, the Robinsons and Allister do appear at times to be a bunch of cranks.

    Turgon, though King of Free Speech, hopefully you will let this stay, as I have attributed a touch of theory to hit on what I am trying to say.

  • ZoonPol

    Agree with you DV about Jim A. but he is more justified than many in the UUP as they at least knew that the DUP were Ulster Protestant Nationalists that would sacrifice principle for power and treated them accordingly: he (Jim) was friends with them and, no doubt, gave free legal advice to them on that basis.

  • Greenflag


    ‘I tend to forget entirely at times the old history such as that.’

    Understandable 😉 The world did not begin in 1690 nor 1916 nor will it end in 2009 😉


    No amount of your spin can take away the image that Jim portrays to the electorate, he comes across a hate ridden, spiteful, angry man ”

    So basically another Paisley albiet in his 1970’s ,80’s and 90’s manifestation and not the 2008/2009 style Star of RTE’s Late Late Show .

    So can we all expect a J.Allister Late Late Show appearance sometime around 2025 then ?

    The TUV have nothing to offer Northern Ireland than Paisely had to offer back in 1969 i.e another generation of sectarian conflict, bombings and death for thousands . In fact given the present economic outlook for NI Allister’s politics may expedite such conflict 🙁

  • jone

    I was just wondering if Willie Wilkinson and Davy Tweed will be on the election trail with Jim? Those guys seem like they could be a real electoral asset.

  • Cushy Glenn

    “a seat that he personally did not win in the first place as it is and was a DUP seat”

    so he wasn’t actually on the ballot then? He didn’t appear on the stump, didn’t do any canvassing, or issue any statements?
    Such arrogance smacks of the old UUP line “the natural party of government” and proof -if it were needed- that the DUP need a lesson in humility

  • Comrade Stalin

    I think everyone can safely ignore David Burnside.

    The DUP and TUV are clearly both likely to treat the upcoming election as a referendum on the powersharing arrangements. Unfortunately for the TUV, I just don’t think Allister has been able to work up the kind of traction necessary for him to seriously damage the DUP. I’m also not convinced that losing the seat will be survivable; it will be very embarassing for the TUV to trail far behind the two pro-powersharing unionists, and that could make it a death blow.

    Robinson has already been warming unionists up to the idea of having policing and justice powers. Since he has neatly tied Sinn Fein up in knots and effectively made them accede to a key demand that ensures that no nationalist will occupy that ministry for at least the next two or three years, he will come out of the other side of the election with his mandate to continue with powersharing newly reinvigorated.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Comrade Stalin,

    You appear to losing your battle to keep your admiration for the DUP under control.

    “Sinn Fein up in knots and effectively made them accede to a key demand that ensures that no nationalist will occupy that ministry for at least the next two or three years”

    You have left out the fact that the largest Unionist party – the DUP have ruled themselves out for as long as SF are ruled out – if they have tied SF up in knots they have tethered themselves likewise. lol

    But I agree with your substatantive point (not your ideological sideswipe), that the TUV do not have enough traction (as the Unionist electorate have now swallowed the GFA with the STA sweetner)to Lundify Robbo and Deputy Dodsy although they have as much justiifcation- i.e. none as the DUP had in Lundifying Trimble.

    The problem for the DUP will be in the detail of Police bill which will probably leave some powers under Marty’s remit and the DUP need to be careful with the timing of this having dragged it out to keep it a live issue in the run up to the election.

    …and poor old Jimbo? Yes I’m afraid the game is up, he is an effective operator and a man of principle but exactly the same could be said of Bob Mc Cartney.