The DUP: what went wrong?

The disaster which has befallen the DUP seems to be pretty significant. It was also a disaster which to be honest none of us really saw coming. I expected the DUP to loose a fair bit but I did not expect what appears to be unfolding in front of us: even if Dodds does hold the seat, this will have been a very significant blow for the DUP and one which they need to think very seriously about. Other unionists must, however, be careful at having too much schadenfreude as a damaged DUP may create problems at Stromont and in addition if the DUP learn from this debacle they may yet rebuild more easily than it currently seems. Against that is, unfortunately for the DUP, the simple fact that they have never been very good at introspection.

To look at what happened we could maybe work backwards, starting with the now infamous debate.Diane Dodds was woeful and no amount of post hoc DUP spinning was able to change that fact: compared to Jim Allister’s attacks on Sinn Fein, hers were poor and her attacks on Allister were nothing like as telling as his on her. It was to use my favoured warship analogy like the battle between the Italian heavy cruisers and the British battleships at Cape Matapan: there was inevitably only one winner. In addition Dodds’s inaccurate attack on the MEPs over the dairy industry was disastrous: the sight of DeBrun saying “Diane stop digging” was almost physically painful. Even more responsible than Dodds’ however, must be whichever assistant provided the incorrect information about the MEPs’ meeting DEFRA: surely they must be the first causality of the DUP’s post election analysis

Dodds’ attempts to attack DeBrun always fell short when placed beside the simple fact of none other than her husband sharing power with Ms. DeBrun’s friends in Stormont; meanwhile her attacks on Allister simply bounced off his armour. All the while Allister carried on remorselessly slamming the attacks into DeBrun and Dodds. As Greenflag noted sometime ago battlecruisers looked the part but when sent into action against battleships proved woefully inadequate. On this occasion Dodds was clearly the battlecruiser to Allisters slightly old fashioned but brutally effective battleship.

Of course that disaster was only the culmination of the problems. The campaign itself seemed very poorly fought: the slogans either forgettable or providing Allister or the UUP with additional ammunition against the DUP. The battle bus seemed a modern and effective idea but it appeared filled with DUP politicians rather than normal activists and I saw relatively little sign (apart from postering) of a concerted on the ground campaign by local activists. The DUP seemed happy to release statements on their web site as an alternative to on the ground campaigning. Overall the only reason why this was not the most poorly fought unionist campaign of recent years is the fact that the UUP had already blazed an uncatchable trail of incompetence with “Decent People Vote Unionist” and the complete uselessness of their last Westminster attempt. This election should show yet again that importing effective novel campaigning techniques from other countries or other regions of the UK does not mean that they will be effective here: to a very large extent all politics is local and neither on the ground nor in grand strategy is there any substitute for local knowledge and local workers.

Going back further of course was the poor choice of candidate: it must be stressed that Diane was not a dreadful candidate (at least not until the last week) but she was not brilliant; enough maybe to take on Nicholson but not against Allister. Against him the DUP do have potential champions his equal but they all stayed at home. That of course brings us back to the problems of selection all those months ago when the DUP kept failing to nominate a candidate. When they did they probably presumed that name recognition would help and it was not an unreasonable assumption. However, that assumption could not factor in the dynasty problems which fed upon the expenses and double jobbing scandals to make a famous name a liability.

The DUP already had a taste of the problem with the issue of office expenses in North Antrim; however, they had no defence at all as the expenses scandal hit. Robinson’s refusal to accept any form of error regarding the £30,000 food bill was an extremely grave mistake; a pretty unforgivable one for a shrewd tactician like him. In addition the details of their lifestyle were very damaging. I am sorry to play the man but it sounds appallingly in your face nouveaux riche for a society such as ours which is actually pretty conservative and not very supportive of extravagant displays of personal wealth, even less if gained at tax payers’ expense and doubly so in a time of economic recession.

These are problems which the DUP are going to have to take very seriously: their answer during the election campaign was to try to point to Jim Allister’s vastly less extravagant expenses. If they continue with this maximum attack answer to the problem they will simply compound it. Humility and apologising are, however, something which the DUP have never been very good at. In addition when Robinson did agree to phase out double jobbing it looked like a panicked response to David Cameron’s proposals which probably did more harm than good and sat very ill with his sending HMS Warspite in the form of Arlene Foster to hold the Fermanagh council by election.

This set of disasters: the dynasty building added to the expenses and the double jobbing was a pretty unique mix which is unlikely to be repeated again. However, the issue of choosing a poor campaign message is a problem which could recur. Once a party has lost its contact with the grass roots and listens to frighteningly clever types in smart suits sitting in Stormont, the problems really begin. The UUP did this in the past and at times I have almost seen Simon Hamilton looking like the frightfully affable, desperately clever and totally useless Stephen King; maybe an unfair analogy (and Hamilton unlike King is an elected politician), but could there be a certain resonance?

Overriding all the issues of poor campaign, fairly poor candidate etc., however, is the issue of the current position and direction of the DUP. The DUP may truly believe that republicans have changed; they may really think that the deal they have negotiated is as good as it gets for the unionist population. However, they have reckoned without the simple fact that for years they told us that they would not share power with Sinn Fein and unrepentant terrorists. There is still a significant constituency of unionists who are genuinely opposed to the leaders of the IRA’s army council being in power over them. These people would rather see London rule (even with Dublin involvement) than be ruled by those who were involved in the murder of their kith and kin. That is still a position common amongst unionists: that much seems pretty clear. Republicans can bay all they like that unionists cannot decide who represents their community and they are of course correct. However, if a significant proportion of unionists do not wish their representatives to share power with SF and are willing in the process to forego power for themselves, it is difficult to see how the DUP can regain those votes whilst remaining in power sharing with republicans.

The DUP succoured these people: indeed after the Belfast Agreement they were their champions; whilst the DUP have changed many unionists have not and I am most dubious that they will. I take you back to the murders of the two soldiers and the policeman. Remember the adulation for Martin McGuinness’ statement? Many unionists, however, feel that this is a man who (like Gerry Adams) can tell lies as the rest of us breathe: as such his words are completely valueless. I remember when I pointed this out I received many brickbats from republicans, liberal unionists and indeed some DUPers. However, very many unionist commentators held their counsel and I suspect many in the wider community would have quietly agreed: certainly Alex Kane (from a very different unionist analysis to myself) said much the same. The problem was that as McGuinness said his piece, lauded by Robinson; many will have remembered what McGuinness had done and indeed what Robinson used to say about him. Far too much blood has been spilled for that to be forgotten and whilst political power may wash white for the DUP it has no such effect for many in this community.

The DUP never factored into their calculations the possibility of an organised attack from their right wing: they, the DUP, are the hard line unionist party, they seem to feel that they have a monopoly on such. I am sure they expected some defectors but not in the organised fashion with which they have been presented and certainly not lead by a serious political heavyweight. The responsibility for the creation of their nemesis is of course close to home. Jewish folklore contains the concept of the Golem a being created from imamate matter. Amongst the most famous golems is the Golem of Prague created by Rabbi Low to defend the Jews of Prague: this Golem then ended up being a menace to its creator. Peter Robinson of course reactivated Jim Allister. Robinson no doubt thought he could control Allister and that he was preferable as a European candidate to Willie McCrea last time round. I suspect Robinson remembers and regrets every part of that first trip to see Allister: does he remember what he wore? the crunch of the gravel on Allister’s drive as he got out of the car?

Although Robinson must have known that there would be defectors after he went into government, he is the man who created Allister and he is the one who is the ultimate architect of his own dilemma as he helped destroy Trimble, he brought in Allister and now having done a Trimble he faces Allister. In many ways this is an old fashioned morality tale. However, the story is not over. I have always argued he is a tactician not a strategist and I would further argue that the last few years have shown him trying to do strategy and leaving no one to do the tactics; hence, the utterly disorganised and frequently counter productive response to the TUV and Allister. However, Robinson still holds many cards and people have written him off before: the future is far from clear. However, the DUP have some very serious thinking to do.

  • Comrade Stalin

    fin, third force and UR have plausible deniability. They’ll tell you that Paisley backed out as soon as he saw those nasty men who misinterpreted his peace-loving beret-wearing hippy talk. UWC has less plausible deniability, though, and indeed Paisley’s later strike, organized with the UDA, has even less.

    On the other hand, the TV footage of William McCrea on a podium beside a known active killer has no plausible deniability. What’s more interesting for someone like Turgon is that Jim Allister chose to join this party after these events had occurred. I wonder if Jim’s principled opposition to terrorism ever clashed with, for example, the DUP’s active and ongoing support for the enquiry into Wright’s murder, or the DUP party leader asking questions in Westminster about the conditions endured by loyalists in Maghaberry.

    Although I have a problem plugging the ‘surrender’ theory into history, it would appear that John Major was a bit slow in accepting the IRA’s surrender, so they blew up Canary Wharf to encourage him, mmmmmh.

    The IRA disarmed under political pressure without having met any of their declared objectives when they started out in 1969/1970. That smells like a surrender to me.

  • Peter Brown

    Completely off thread Gav except to the extent that i think the DUP is starting to repeat the UUP’s mistakes..

    “5.The UUP did not lie to the electorate in the way that the DUP has done!

    The UUP signed the Agreement, and lost support to the DUP which opposed it, but now works the same Agreement – as it feathers its nest and promotes dynasties at the same time.”

    The UUP signed The Agreement, told its electorate about the good points some of which didn’t actually exist, left out all the bad points which turned out to be much more significant to the unionist electorate and then proceeded to do exactly what it said it wouldn;t do – who rememebers no guns no government?

    If he hasn’t already done so Robbo should buy Godson’s book on Trimble and read it carefully over the summer holidays…

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    CS,

    Life of Brian it is then…

    Apart from getting all their prisoners out, ending the Orange State, the removal of the govt. of Ireland act, British declaration of no interest in Ireland as reflected in the GFA, mandatory All Ireland instutions, abolition of RUC and UDR, getting into government what did the insurgents ever do for Irish Nationalism?

  • Faulkner

    Comrade Stalin
    Why would the Conservatives want some Northern Ireland MPs?

    So that they can take on the Scots Nats. They need to be able say with conviction they are the party of the Union not just an English party.

    Obviously, the Welsh result tonight is a good one but England and Wales have been together for so long it hardly counts. The Scots Nats are the big threat for one nation tories and Northern Ireland has its part to play.

    I sort of surprised an experienced political analyst such as you wouldn’t be aware of the bigger picture.

    PS Bob
    Why don’t you ask OP about JD. Just ask if they met? Just ask if it was at lunch….

  • fin

    haha Sammy, but he has a point CS, its pragmatism, they jumped when they thought the best deal was on offer, and speaking as a republican to don’t get volunteers to lie in ditches by promising cross-border bodies and police reform, it is a fact of life that politicans over-egg the pudding to get the blood sacrafice from their people. Was there ever a war that resulted in what it promised, freedom for small nations anyone.

    It is also a case that a necessary step on the road to a united Ireland is to create a normal society in NI and to ensure a normal society after unification, again pragmatism would suggest a political settlement is the best way.

  • fin

    Faulkner, I think a single lunch wouldn’t be unusual, several I’d suspect something. Its possibly not just a union thing, if the Tories do win the next election they might need all the MPs they can get, a recent projection was a 22 seat majority. Which might be why they’ve not given up on Herman yet.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    I understand there have also been a number of discreet evening meetings between the 2 gentelmen and although some may describe them as very close because of their shared loved for right wing politics and military uniforms there is absolutely nothing to suggest anything improper.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    There is no evidence that Nick Griffin has also been involved in these meetings though he too shares the same interests.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    It is great to think of politicans from different countries getting together and co-operating and perhaps occasionally getting dressed up and just enjoying each others company.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Three nice guys really.

  • Dave

    “getting all their prisoners out”

    Yup, a purely self-serving action that also allowed all of the loyalists out on the basis that the two sets of murder gangs were equivalent, and so it the members of the provisional sectarian murder gangs were to be released then so must the members of the loyalist sectarian murder gangs. Putting a bunch of sectarian murderers back on the streets and denying justice to their victims is despicable and something that no decent person would brag about.

    “ending the Orange State”

    Stormont ceased to exist in 1972. 28 years before the Shinners stopped decapitating the citizens of Northern Ireland. The British government ended it when they imposed direct rule.

    “the removal of the govt. of Ireland act”

    And replaced it with another act which states the same thing using a slightly modified formula of words. You’re welcome to play spot the between the constitutional status of Northern Ireland then and now:

    [b]Northern Ireland Act 1998: Status of Northern Ireland[/b]
    [i]It is hereby declared that Northern Ireland in its entirety remains part of the United Kingdom and shall not cease to be so without the consent of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland voting in a poll held for the purposes of this section in accordance with Schedule 1[/i]

    [b]Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973: Status of Northern Ireland[/b]
    [i]It is hereby declared that Northern Ireland remains part of Her Majesty’s dominions and of the United Kingdom, and it is hereby affirmed that in no event will Northern Ireland or any part of it cease to be part of Her Majesty’s dominions and of the United Kingdom without the consent of the majority of the people of Northern Ireland voting in a poll held for the purposes of this section in accordance with Schedule 1 to this Act.[/i]

    “British declaration of no interest in Ireland as reflected in the GFA”

    The constitutional status of Northern Ireland is unaltered by the GFA, so the level of interest remains.

    “mandatory All Ireland instutions.”

    Which should be abolished as they grant sovereignty over institutions of the Irish state to Her Majesty’s government.

    “abolition of RUC and UDR”

    The Patten Commission is not the work of the Shinners, being completed after the all-party talks. They had little or no input into the GFA negotiations beyond making a serious of self-serving demands. You can thank John Hume and David Trimble for that reform. In reality, most of what was in the GFA itself was the work of the British government, being set out in the Downing Street Declaration. The Shinners just took what was offered to them and tried to sell it to the muppets who support them as the result of some sort of brilliant negotiating on their part.

    “getting into government”

    Getting into a British government as loyal servants of Her Majesty.

    “what did the insurgents ever do for Irish Nationalism?”

    They guaranteed that just as you were born as a British citizen you will die a British citizen. So, you asked a rhetorical question.

  • PACE Parent

    Comrade Stalin
    It is not for me to account for William McCrea’s behaviour. I cite an example from 1972 that may help to illustrate the opportunism of “loyalist” politicians, particularly those appearing to punch above their weight.

    After the adjournment of Stormont there was little drama or emotion inside but outside tens of thousands of ordinary citizens, unorganised, marched up from the city to show their disgust. T.V. viewers that evening saw Brian Faulkner and Bill Craig standing together on the main balcony of Stormont addressing the crowd, and there was speculation that the two, who had been opponents for the past year, were now to make common cause. That was not so. Faulkner and some colleagues had been lunching in the dining room when General Tuzo came to his table to say that he was worried about how the demonstration outside might end. He appealed to Faulkner to do what he could to calm the situation, so the ex-prime minister went out on to the balcony and made a short speech, urging the demonstrators to disperse peacefully. Craig, never one to miss an opportunity to jump on a bandwagon, had merely followed him out.

    William McCrea is no Brian Faulkner nor even Bill Craig.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    So Dave quite a bit of wriggling there but you have conceded most points.

    You have taken particular exception to “British declaration of no interest in Ireland as reflected in the GFA”. Are you not aware of the “ourselves alone” clause in the GFA in which Britian agrees that it is for the people of Ireland alone to decide their own constitutional future? They have now conceded their tenure in our country is matter for us.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Sammy etc,

    getting into government what did the insurgents ever do for Irish Nationalism?

    You didn’t add troop withdrawals.

    I typed out a long message about why the listed points are not really serious concessions, but I erased it (Dave’s response is better than mine). Like, the idea that the IRA hunger strikers died for the reform of the 1920 Government of Ireland Act is something that doesn’t strike me as being terribly republican. And prior to Patten, republicans used to tell me that they couldn’t accept anything other than the creation of a new police force (defined as – “sack all the old police officers and make them reapply for their jobs, ban the ones who are members of religious institutions; ban plastic bullets; and introduce regionalized police services”).

    Still, it’s none of my business that you have accepted something substantially less than this, and I’m happy that you’re happy with the list of “achievements” – many which were actually resemble Alliance Party policy during the troubles. I remember Alderdice doing a few speeches about the immorality of the Government of Ireland Act for example. So obviously, I don’t dispute that any of these changes are Good Things.

    But it remains the case that the IRA’s objectives were all-Ireland self determination and an end to British rule. They failed and settled on essentially the same settlement that they rejected out of hand in 1974. They didn’t get all-Ireland self-determination which they used to define as a simple referendum on partition.

    haha Sammy, but he has a point CS, its pragmatism, they jumped when they thought the best deal was on offer, and speaking as a republican to don’t get volunteers to lie in ditches by promising cross-border bodies and police reform, it is a fact of life that politicans over-egg the pudding to get the blood sacrafice from their people. Was there ever a war that resulted in what it promised, freedom for small nations anyone.

    I have no problem accepting that republicans – most of them anyway – were quite serious about ending violence, and the SF politicians wanted to find a way to do this which would, at the same time, deliver maximum political benefit to them and their constituents. Achieving this took great leadership and I know that people put their lives at risk, holding the ceasefire together and selling the political arrangements.

    Nonetheless, they were as much pushed into this position as they were volunteering to go that way anyway, and I can’t believe that some unionists still don’t know a good thing (ie an IRA capitulation on effectively unionist-defined terms) when they see one. Which is one reason to conclude that the perspective of Jim Allister is more to do with not having a taig about the place than it is about serious opposition to violence.

    PACE Parent:

    It is not for me to account for William McCrea’s behaviour.

    Yeah, I knew you were going to say something like that. Whenever a politician – a senior politician representing a significant number of unionists – appears to side with a known murderer, you guys always say “it’s none of my business”. Whose business is it ? Who do I need to ask ? Isn’t it the electorate’s business ?

    I cite an example from 1972 that may help to illustrate the opportunism of “loyalist” politicians, particularly those appearing to punch above their weight.

    Faulkner was a unionist leader in a different class from those who came after, and when it fell to him to show leadership, he did so in great style in 1974 (sad that this didn’t work out).

    But why are we going back to 1972 ? I’m talking about what’s happening now. Like Jim Allister failing to release a statement on the McDaid murder for almost a week.

    Craig’s a strange boy. One minute he’s a crypto-fascist, the next he’s suing for peaceful coalition with nationalists. I often wonder how much of his whole spiel was really dominated by his own interest in political power.

    fin:

    Which might be why they’ve not given up on Herman yet.

    Hermon strongly dislikes (to put it mildly) the Tories. It’ll be a cold day in hell before they get her to sign up.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    CS,

    re. “but I erased it (Dave’s response is better than mine). ”

    Ah Jeez- and they are normally so funny.

    re. the Alliance party were right all along – I’m a big fan, just a pity more Unionist couldnt bring themselves to vote for the only non-sectraian Unionist party.

    re. Self Determination. I agree with you – but at least the Englezes now concede its our country.

  • brendan,belfast

    Sorry to butt in like this – but does anyone know what the piece of paper which Diane claimed was a letter from DEFRA on the Politics Show actually was?? I’d like to see it.

  • Seceder

    Just back

    Page 8 comment 9 Faulkner –

    “JD… get into a party that would like him.”

    You coundln’t like that wee runt if you reared him! he’s opportunistic, self seeking, under talented and only interested in his own glory – a perfect politician then

    Seriously though, when he reads the signs, he’ll jump at a move to the Tories.

    personally I can’t wait to see him canvass Lagan Valley with that other Lagan Valley resident currently under the Tory whip – namely Lord Trimble and personally I’d make it a condition of his acceptance into the Tory party that he had to!

    Oh revenge is actually sweeter than they say!

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    When O met J.

    …meanwhile the story continues. The two firends stared warmly across the dining table at each other – they both looked splendid in their miltiary fatigues. “Can two men from different political parties who love the same things in politics ever be just be friends”. The smaller of the two seemed to consider this for a moment and then smiled coyly before disappearing under the table….

    An eldelry lady dining alone heard a noise she had not heard for many years and looked across the resturant to where a fine looking miltiary chap seemingly sat unaccompanied sipping from his glass as he struggled to avoid attracting attention.

    The elderly lady called a waiter and excitedly shouted “Ill have what he’s having”.

  • Reader

    Sammy: They have now conceded their tenure in our country is matter for us.
    That last bit didn’t seem to make it into the 1998 Northern Ireland Act. Just to fill in the gap, here’s a draft version of an additional clause: “In the event of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland voting in a poll to leave the United Kingdom, but a simultaneous poll in the Republic of Ireland voting not to accept them, we’re just going to abandon the place.”
    There’s your triumph of negotiation: get ready to pop the Champagne corks and wave the flags when that goes into law.
    Or it may be you’re just highlighting a distinction without a difference?

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Hey, it’s Stuck-record Sammy, still at it. All those thousands of posts on Slugger telling us dat ‘da Brits couldn’t do dis, dat and da other’, and now a whimpered little, ‘oh pluze, pluze don’t do dem terrible tings’. Keep us laughing Stuck-record, and, as you’ve oh so wisely realised, keep on running.

  • pith

    Farewell DUP and everything you didn’t stand for.

  • 6countyprod

    “5.The UUP did not lie to the electorate in the way that the DUP has done!

    I just downloaded the DUP 2007 manifesto for a wee nosey. On page four you will find the following two paragraphs:

    “…The DUP holds to its long standing position that there can only be an agreement involving Sinn Fein when there has been delivery by the republican movement, tested and proved over a credible period, in terms of support for the PSNI, the Courts and the rule of law, a complete end to paramilitary and criminal activity and the removal of terrorist structures.

    …The Government stressed, before, during and after the St Andrews talks that the twin pillars for agreement are DUP support for power sharing and Sinn Fein support for policing. Clearly as Sinn Fein is not yet ready to take the decisive step forward on policing, the DUP is not required to commit to any aspect of power sharing in advance of such certainty.” 9th November 2006

    Seeing that SF/IRA have complied with the DUP preconditions, ‘in terms of support for the PSNI, the Courts and the rule of law, a complete end to paramilitary and criminal activity and the removal of terrorist structures’, and the DUP have held up their side of the agreement, which, ironically, Allister had a part in, would someone tell me how the DUP has `betrayed` the Unionist people as insisted upon by Mr Allister.

    If those two paragraphs are accurate, and I believe they are as I downloaded them directly from the DUP website, then it is Mr Allister who is guilty of treachery and deception.

    The one good bit of news from today, for DUP supporters, and for NI as a whole, is the fact that 86.3% of those who went to the polls on Thursday voted for pro-agreement parties. Mr Allister’s pro-direct rule, ‘back to the past’ message only garnered 13.7% of the vote.

  • Turgon

    6countyprod,
    You really are beginning to sound like the UUP now. Essentially that claim of “one bit of good news” suggests that you have more in common with pro agreement parties (including SF) than hard line unionists (the TUV).

    Incidentally I suppose you are going to tell me that Mr. Quinn was not murdered by the IRA; or would you like to repeat Jeffrey Donaldson’s weasel worded “Not corporately responsible” line?

    If the DUP use a strategy such as you are outlining you are going to have real trouble preventing a further haemorrhage of votes let alone get back the ones you have lost.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Reader,

    “recognise that it is for the people of the island of Ireland alone, by agreement between the two parts respectively and without external impediment, to exercise their right of self-determination on the basis of consent, freely and concurrently given, North and South, to bring about a united Ireland, if that is their wish, accepting that this right must be achieved and exercised with and subject to the agreement and consent of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland”

    This is the “ourselves alone” clause in the GFA that reflects British non strategic interest in our country.

  • Diluted Orange

    Diane Dodds opening gambit on winning her seat, “it is with great regret that because of the split in Unionism that Sinn Fein topped the poll …”

    This is Diane Dodds, of the DUP, the same party who have survived by splitting the Unionist vote for almost the entirety of their history. Honestly, who gives a flying f@#k that SF topped the poll? Do Unionists en-masse lie awake at night cowering at the thought of De Brun winning 1st place in the Euro elections? I don’t think so somehow. People are more worried in the current climate about holding down a job and putting food on the table. But then these parasites, 108 of whom lavish themselves up at Stormont on the fruits of our labour, would never understand that would they?

    When is one of the parties within Unionism going to run a positive, pro-active election campaign for once? It is so depressing. The fact is that the Unionist cause has been permanently stuck in a rut for decades. There is no dynamism and no leadership, there have been those who have tried to engage; O’Neill, Trimble and eventually Paisley, but none of them ever had the conviction to really push for and embrace change.

    As a result, when the inevitable whirlwind of righteous hard-line retribution comes the ‘leader’ in question is a sitting duck, who instead of summoning up the courage to say,”things need to change” just takes the flack and engages in a tit-for-tat slanging match with the newest usurper over who is the real voice of Unionism.

    And so the cycle repeats itself. The TUV will no doubt eventually become the new self proclaimed voice of Unionism. Like their predecessors, once they are in the driving seat they too will capitulate and share power with SF, or whoever else is the Nationalist flavour of the day. The TUV have no solution to the problems within Unionism. It’s all well being a party of protest but what are you protesting for? Personally, I don’t see the attraction of staying within a political union which has offered nothing (in the post ceasefire era) in terms of jobs, integration and now education just because my ‘tribe’ will get to revel in their phyrric victory for eternity. There is only one end game, whatever label you want to put on it, Sunningdale, Good Friday Agreement, St Andrews, … power sharing is the only option and Allister knows it.

  • Driftwood

    Direct rule works perfectly well in Witney. No reason why it shouldn’t work perfectly well in Whiterock. No difference between them that I can see.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Do us tell us more about your close, forensic reading of British constitutional texts stuck-record. For years you droned onto us about how da Brits couldn’t any longer do all dese terrible tings you *now* cry they merely shouldn’t. But best I think to instead keep on running!

  • Driftwood

    Whiterock, near Comber, Strangford Lough, I should have added.

  • Reader

    Sammy: This is the “ourselves alone” clause in the GFA that reflects British non strategic interest in our country.
    But the distinction that you regard as so important hasn’t made it into law. It’s as though the British Government thinks that the possibility that the southern voters might reject us anyway, just isn’t worth legislative ink. You can see their point, I expect.
    But if you insist on nitpicking; what you actually have now is that two different Irish electorates have a chance to say no to a United Ireland, whereas before only us Nordies had that option. So here’s a big pat on the back for the hard headed shinner negotiators during the GFA.

  • 6countyprod

    Turgon, I think it is very good news for NI that only 13.7% voted for the anti-agreement candidate. That’s less than 1 in 7. In the big scheme of things I would say that is quite pitiful, especially as your man was hoping to retain his seat. He has been rejected by the electorate.

    Over 72% of Unionists, that’s right, 72% of Unionists voted against Allister. You are obviously a pain in the butt for the DUP, and may even cost them seats in the future, but you have a huge hill to climb. You are basically yesterday’s men who have not yet caught up with reality.

    Btw, I did not outline a strategy, I simply made an observation about how the DUP have held to their side of the St Andrew`s agreement, which I believe Mr Allister helped to negotiate.

    A vote for the TUV is a vote for regress. Dissident republicans and the TUV both want to destroy the political institutions which are supported by the overwhelming majority of the population on NI. Well, it is not going to happen.

    Your snide remarks about Donaldson do not become you, Turgon. He lost family members to the IRA and served in the UDR, and has earned the right to speak for Unionists. You are an anonymous blogger, and, just like me, you do not have the courage to put your name to your posts. You have no right to disparage and try to destroy Jeffrey from behind your balaclaved keyboard.

    But getting back to my original comment above, when are you going to explain how the DUP `betrayed` people when what they did was fulfil they manifesto pledges, which Allister helped to compose?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Drifters,

    re. “1.Direct rule works perfectly well in Witney. No reason why it shouldn’t work perfectly well in Whiterock. No difference between them that I can see. ”

    Well the Englezes have not signed an international treaty telling a foreign country their right to self-determination covers Witney.

  • Intelligence Insider

    6countyprod, 72% of pro-union vote against Allister is completely wrong. Please show how you get that figure!!! However, over 66% of the pro-union vote was against Dodds/DUP.
    Valid votes cast = 484572
    Pro-Union vote (TUV & UCUNF & Alliance & DUP) = 264135 – 54.5%
    Pro-United Ireland vote (SF & SDLP) = 204673 – 42.2%
    Green vote = 15764 – 3.2%
    Pro-Union vote other than DUP = 175789 – 66.6%
    DUP vote = 88346 – 33.4%

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    And yet they’ve retained full sovereign authority, despite your years and years and years of telling us dat they hadn’t, hence your piteous sobs of ‘don’t, pluze, do dese terrible tings’. More and more I quite see why you keep on running!

  • Turgon

    6countyprod,
    Nice try re Donaldson. They are not my snide remarks they are merely repetition of his own comments; I agree that his remarks were snide and appallingly inappropriate.

    Yes he has lost family members to the IRA and he was in the UDR. As such you might think he would extend a little more respect to another of the IRA’s victims rather than dismissing the Quinn family’s grief on the basis of a weasel worded comment about corporate responsibility: as if the IRA held formal meetings to decide who to murder. Tell me do you think the IRA did not murder Paul Quinn? Are you willing to lie that grossly?

    I cannot remember Donaldson accepting the IRA’s lies about not meaning to kill the people at Enniskillen or the multiple other times they have lied about or refused to accept their involvement in murder. That 6countyprod is a level of spinning I thought beneath you.

    Your spinning about unionists supporting the agreement is interesting: now work out for me what percentage of unionists support the DUP and the relative change there.

    As to the DUP holding their side of St Andrews: really? I suppose all that about over my dead body and republicans repenting in sack cloth and ashes and all that Paisley said for 40 years did not happen. Still keep on with the same line: it is going to continue to loose you votes so I guess I should not stop you.

    In terms of specifics so you regard the republican movement as having delivered over a credible period of time when the DUP went into government? How long is credible: enough time to get your snouts into the trough?

    As to the “the removal of paramilitary structures” what is the army council or do you prefer to forget that one?

    Still keep spinning your lines: it has taken nearly half your votes and if you keep it up may help take the other half as well: well apart from all the family dynasties; I guess they will keep voting for your party.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Don’t forget the hired help at Stormont Turgon, in the, uh, few cases where they’re not also kith & kin. But I can’t actually believe it’ll get to that stage: the Punt didn’t get to where he is today by not tacking when the wind changes. And changed it has.

  • Turgon

    Laughing (Tory) Unionist,
    Fair point. However, how will the loyal DUP spinners on here explain taht one to us when their beloved leader changes course and they have to sheep like follow? Oh yes shamelessness is a common characteristic.

  • Mason Powell

    Straight from the horse’s mouth: “I’m standing in the Westminster Election, and North Antrim is my home constituency.”

    Jim Allister, BBCNI, 10.36pm 8/6/2009

    Message to wee Ian: He’s coming to get you…

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Turgon,

    Allister has fought a brilliant campaign and was the best candidate and it is refreshing to see someone fight an election on a matter of principle against the odds and to come through.

    BUT as you no doubt enjoy the TUV success do you not have any concerns that if Stormo does collapse there might be an atmosphere which contributes to a gradual worsening in community relations and an increase in inter community vilolence?

  • Diluted Orange

    Message to wee Ian: He’s coming to get you…

    A brief synopsis of Ian Paisley’s career, courtesy of Wikipedia:

    # Campaign against homosexuality
    # Campaign against National Lottery
    # Beginning a career of “No”
    # The 1973 Sunningdale agreement: Opposed
    # The 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement: ‘Ulster says no’

    # In 1988, when Pope John Paul II delivered a speech to the European Parliament, Paisley shouted “I Denounce you as the AntiChrist!” and held up a red poster reading “Pope John Paul II ANTICHRIST” in black letters.

    # 1995: Drumcree Standoff
    # The 1998 Belfast Agreement: No

    All this and Jim Allister stands to the right of this man! May (the Protestant) God save us from the newest saviour of Unionism.

    Perhaps Nick Griffin will grace the shores of Northern Ireland at the next general election to give the electorate a more moderate choice of candidate?!

  • Driftwood

    Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    If Stormont collapsed tomorrow (I wish), no-one would notice apart from the political pygmies that inhabit there (Bad for them) and the taxpayer (Good for them).

    It would have as much effect here on the vast majority of people in NI as the resignation of the Peruvian agriculture minister.

    And that’s why most people didn’t vote.

    As for ‘inter-community violence’, what the lumpenproletariat get up to after SPL football games has more to do with alcohol and stupidity.
    Who gives a toss about them? I don’t.

  • AS Drumbo

    wee Jeffrey was in the UDR for about 2 years, hardly a veteran

  • 6countyprod

    II: ‘please show how you get that figure!!!’

    Total Unionist votes cast: 237,436
    Total Unionist pro-agreement vote (UU+DUP): 171,239
    Anti-agreement vote (TUV): 66,197

    Pro-agreement Unionists: 171,239 as % of 237,436 = 72.1%

    Anti-agreement Unionists: 66,197 as % of 237,436 = 27.9%

    Capisce?

  • 6countyprod

    AS Drumbo, so how long did you serve?

  • WindsorRocker

    II,
    The fact that you highlight the anti DUP vote as opposed to what should be the policy driven dividing line of support for the current institutions says a lot about the desire of many to see the DUP get a bloody nose and to hell with the consequences.

  • 6countyprod

    It was disingenuous of Allister to participate in negotiating agreements and signing up to a manifesto when he had no intention of sticking to them. Tell us, Turgon, how long do we have to wait before you will agree to having SF in government? Five years, ten years? What else do they have to do to satisfy your scepticism, or cynicism?

    It is patently obvious to those who want to see that SF has turned the corner, moved on, given up the armed struggle, or whatever you want to call it. They have had quite a number of dissenters who have left their organisation and continued with violence, just as some loyalists, and I’m not implying the TUV, have not moved on and still hate nationalists to the point of murder.

    The stars lined up well for the TUV this time, but it is still pretty much a one-man band with a broken-record message that will, no doubt, cater to the opinions of a small percentage of unionists but the longer SF is involved in the devolved administration of the province, the weaker your position becomes. Your continued one-topic harping will eventually get on the nerves of even some of those who today sympathise with you.

    Apart from being a nuisance to the DUP the only thing the TUV achieved in this election was allowing SF to top the poll.

  • PACE Parent

    6countyprod

    As Turgon has suggested please keep up your arrogant DUP ranting to ensure not just a bloody nose but a fractured jaw at the next electoral opportunity. The real problem with the fascist DUP is that only the inner circle of the party (the nepotistic families) have any say on how it operates. The pre-signed P45s ensure the silence and compliance of those others who actually carry out the ground work but they have nothing to impart by way of communication or connection to the grassroots. The nomination of Diane Dodds makes the point.
    Now Robinson tells us he will learn lessons from the election results. Too little too late Pater. The first step he can take is to quit his MLA job today. The appointment of his successor will give clearer indication of DUP intent that any amount of weasel words.
    Please do not presume to understand what Jim Allister’s TUV stands for. DUP people like you simply don’t have the experience, integrity or principle to get it.

  • Zoon Politikon

    The simple truth is the TUV, like the DUP before it, splits the UK unionist vote in NI. Jim is now history for without the platform of being an MEP he will get little press exposure. If this is repeated in Westminster (First-pass-the-post) elections we will have the silly proposition of few MPs representing the minority in our mother Parliament. I am first to admit I dislike the DUP for their lies over the years and being a rational voter I am saddened that Dodds got it given her performance at QUB. However the DUP are in; they have signed up to the GFA or Sunningdale for slow learners and are working the system. Unionists must find consensus for even if one believes that the IRA are and were terrorists there is a sizable majority out there who believes that they were freedom fighters and voted for their political-wing accordingly.

  • danielmoran

    faulkner msg 21. writing this after result is in.
    the reason i think the dup will be too scared to fight the westminster election while in stormont [and therefore think they will have to pull out before then]is insecurity. they are painfully aware that their rise to top of unionist pile is no thanks to them but to trimble’s gamble in 2000. simple.

  • Cushy Glenn

    Diluted Orange, you forgot his brilliant campaign against Sunday opening- Willie mcCrea was going to picket the pubs as I recall…..

    Can I ask has anyone seen Diane out and about last night or today? It’s astonishing that Unionism’s poll topper has gone/been sent to purdah by the Punt.
    And how glum did Arlene sound this morning? Even her customary grammatical errors (Something cannot be “incredulous”, you muppet) seemed weary and subdued.
    Could it be that the choice for her colleagues to be made in the next few weeks has got a whole lot harder? Stand down from Stormont and face a split Unionist vote for Westminster which UTV predicts on yesterday’s vote means a loss of 6 seats ( I’m guessing three or four)- or stay at Stormont and wait for the Shinners to react to the new tougher Punt line by collapsing the executive and seeking concessions from the fag end of Brown’s government?

    Voters will gravitate to successful parties, and TUV have had a success in its terms.Not so uch success in policy implementation, since the policies of our local parties are all the same mishmash, but success in poking someone else in the eye. Sad but true.
    If you are a DUP hating UUP voter in North Antrim next year who will you lend your vote to, in order to get the Paisleys out- Conservative Nelson, or TUV Allister…? Whatever successes the DUP claim they have achieved in puting manners on the Provos are banked and long forgotten by voters. Perhaps that’s why Arlene’s so down today. Humbling the arrogant is a worthy first triumph for TUV

  • danielmoran

    turgon ‘many thought paisley would not do it, and as such, saw no need to vote for mccartney’

    that’s what must be eating at mccartney now. of course the ‘anti-powersharing with sf’ people voted with paisley, and crafty as ever he ‘allowed’ them their delusion, knowing that once votes were in the bag, he could do what he liked.
    paisley has changed little over the decades, it’s a function only of the ageing process that he’s realised time is running out for his legacy, so he has to move.

  • Padraig

    [b]MOST Unionists did NOT vote TUV, Padraig [/b]

    It would be unrealistic to expect Unionists to switch off the political lights in a sudden switch.

    The first signs of a switch over like the start of a landslide would be a few stones falling, as we did in Dromore. Then a large amount of boulders as we did at the Euro election. The political direction of Unionism is clear, we saw it beofre with Faulkner as we did with Trimble.

    In this Turgon is quite correct as history shows. I have no doubts the King and Queen Robinson see the writing on the wall and will be frantically looking for a way to pull the plug on the whole power sharing enterprise before they go down the drain as Trimble did. Probably by picking some kind of row with the Shinners.
    The votes will always be with who beats the Orange drums the loudest and the TUV have one big drum .

    Turgon is right , the TUV is on a winner. Unless King Peter can pull a bigger drum out of the hat.

  • danielmoran

    frustrated democrat. msg 14. there’s one factor likely to make the duppers panic in the fce of the tuv threat, and that is their basic insecurity based on the fact that their rise to the top of the unionist pile, depended, not on anything theey did, but on trimble. the dup were in existence for thirty years when trimble’s gamble in 2001 decimated his party, and the voters, while holding their noses put fath in the idea that at least paisley would never go in with the shinners.
    they know better now, so i predict the westminster election will see uup back in majority among unionists at westminster
    i hope paisley survives another ten years at least, to see his party put back in their boxes.