TUV turnout to scupper Stormont?

The strong (anticipated) TUV vote in the European election will lead to the collapse of the power-sharing Executive at Stormont. Discuss (my early thoughts below the fold.)It is, of course, still early days in the count proceedings, but with tally figures from a variety of parties suggesting a definite trend indicating a 12% plus turnout for Allister’s Traditional Unionist Voice, there is no doubt that the political consequences will be fairly dramatic at Stormont.

The DUP campaign was mounted on a clear pitch to bang the drum to rally unionists with the war cry of defeating republicans/ nationalists. The following quotes are taken from its election literature posted through every door in the Six Counties:
“To take republicans on….for control over decisions of nationalist/ republican ministers….to maintain a unionist agenda….to prevent Sinn Fein receiving the morale boost they desperately need.”

The negative tone was and remains clear; but having opted to fight on that battlefront, the party left itself exposed to Allister’s charge that this was a Janus-headed strategy which could be easily picked apart in the heartlands, where the Agreement(s) were never really sold in the first instance.

If, as now seems all but certain, Sinn Fein have topped the poll and the DUP have been humiliated by the defection of a sizeable chunk of its core vote to the unreconstructed Anti-Agreements (that’s of Good Friday and St Andrews) Party, then we would appear to be heading into a dangerous period of uncertainty in the north of Ireland.

Having bought power-sharing through St Andrews and subsequently sought to pitch the experience as one in which unionism was triumphing at nationalism’s expense (in spite of sound warnings as to the viability of such a strategy from Frank Millar and others), the DUP would appear to have been caught out in an unusual pincer movement: the full effect of the TUV pain is only being revealed because of the UUP’s ability, this time around, to hold its share of the vote.

Whilst the UCUNF project remains in its infancy, and with considerable problems of its own, it has at least seemingly served to stem the tide of disillusioned Ulster Unionist voters transferring their vote to the hitherto buoyant DUP, and may even result in a modest increase in percentage share of the overall turnout on the 2007 low for the party.

The real problem for the DUP is to be found in the party leadership’s collective failure to sell power-sharing with the grassroots, with all that entails for acknowledging as equals in government and society their nationalist neighbours- a problem, ironically, which they share with David Trimble and which provided the opportunity for the DUP to assume the mantle of leadership within the unionist community so decisively in 2005.

Having used the Big Man’s not inconsiderable political presence within Unionism to provide the cover for the historic compromise and leap into the unknown, the DUP is now faced with a backlash from its once most ardent supporters (and, in many cases, activists.)

There is now little room for maneouvre for the DUP. Having endured the early blows and humiliations as part of an unpopular republican leadership-led strategy to provide room for Ian Paisley to ‘sell’ St Andrews and bed in the DUP within the power-sharing administration, the leadership of Sinn Fein signalled an end to that particular strategy in the summer of 2008 through the Executive stand-off and the delivery of a clear message to the DUP that Sinn Fein could and would exercise its veto powers to frustrate the ambitions of DUP Ministers if a more consensual approach was not forthcoming from the very top.

The DUP are believed to have signed up to the devolution of policing and justice in a deal likely to have the British government as guarantor and under a clear understanding that Sinn Fein will walk if the deal is not adhered to.

Yet such a development (i.e. actual devolution of such powers), in the context of a DUP strategy which has paid little attention to the need to condition support within unionism for acknowledging and addressing the reciprocal needs and interests of their nationalist equals within government and society, may prove grist to the mill for what will be a rejuvenated Traditional Unionist Voice.
In that context, Sinn Fein would appear to have emerged from the election with a much strengthened hand, able perhaps to concede on slippage to any secret deal over policing/ justice devolution in return for other significant advances within and outside of the remit of the Executive.

If a week is a long time in politics, then nine months is an eternity.

Casting the mind back three seasons, it was very much the case that republicans had reason to be apprehensive. A poor outing in the Assembly and Executive to date was matched with speculation that the SDLP had snared the former Police Ombudsman, Nuala O’Loan, as a prospective candidate in the European election. Such a prospect would doubtlessly have galvanised an SDLP vote which had long before entered a slumber, disillusioned by what was on offer from the Durkan political leadership yet unimpressed by the alternative offerings of a Sinn Fein yet to get to grasp with the legislative and executive skills expected of a party in government and still suffering from the backlash (in this electoral grouping) of the toxic cloud produced by the Northern Bank robbery and murder of Robert McCartney.

That Sinn Fein ultimately did not have to face a much more rigorous test at the polls is partially an indictment of an SDLP leadership which now must surely be entering its final phase. But it also must be acknowledged that the type of pincer movement which has, apparently, so severely damaged the DUP in this election was never going to be an issue for Sinn Fein due to the fact that, whilst its party leadership may face questions over an inability to date to take steps to prepare the party for the demands of governance, it has excelled at preparing its own electoral and political base for the compromises necessary in the new post-Agreement era.

For more than a decade now, the republican narrative preached to the grassroots at internal functions, public rallies and media interviews has consistently sought to challenge and guide republicans to a position which acknowledges the need to address the concerns and rights of unionists. Of course, there have been dissenting voices, and some have left the mainstream republican group, but they remain a very small element of republicanism and a much, much smaller section of the broader nationalist community, with nothing like the electoral pull the Traditional Unionist Voice clearly retain within unionism.

It is ironic that, whilst Sinn Fein could learn a lot from the DUP regarding how to approach the business of preparing for governance, the DUP clearly have a lot more to learn from Sinn Fein regarding how to prepare an electoral and broader communal base for the pains and challenges of a new era of compromise.

  • TUV 1st time voter

    Been reading the breaking news on this site with interest.

    I dont claim to have any inside knowledge vote wise, but I can give you some anecdotal feedback from within the “traditional unionist” bloc in mid-ulster.

    I am from a Free Presbyterian background and have always voted DUP. However, since Ian Paisley tore up a lifetime of pledges and joined Sinn Fein in power, I refuse to give DUP even a trasfer at the ballot box. This time I voted Allister 1, Nicholson 2 and Agnew 3 and stopped there.

    Most of my extended family didnt vote but those who did (including many from a non-FPC background) in Portadown area went with Allister.

    I dont think this TUV swing is a one-off either. There is a real visceral hatred for the DUP now in a growing section of grass-roots unionism.

    They have seen DUP figures live high on the hog, filling their boots, while holding hands with Sinn Fein personnel while graveyards are littered with family members who were murdered by PIRA during the troubles.

    I’ll never vote DUP in any format again for what they have done.

  • The Impartial Observer

    If and it’s still a huge if, the reports about the CU vote holding up with some modest swingback from the DUP in places are correct, then surely doesn’t that suggest if they’d put forward a more articulate candidate than Nicholson then they could have polled even stronger and really left the DUP in trouble?

    Monday is going to be fun, this could be the biggest electoral earthquake in NI’s history!

  • Liam

    TUV 1st time voter: Get with the real world, its 2009. All sections of people who were affected by the conflict in the north have had to move on, including the families of people murdered by the RUC and state forces.

    What is your alternative to the GFA? An assembly without SF? Unionists must begin to accept that SF have a mandate and that must be respected.

  • slug

    Certainly interesting times ahead! The most imminent question is really Westminster and here one suspects that UCUNF could benefit.

  • Respect My Mandate!

    Liam, why should SF’s mandate hold some sort of privilaged position? If governments were to be formed after an election between parties willing to go into coalition on the basis of a PfG and collective responsibility, with cross community safeguards resting within the Assembly, why should any party in the 21st century be entitled to an automatic mechanism to bestow ministerial office? Would an Assembly with cross community safeguards, with an executive and opposition not better form public and political debate around the governmental issues at hand and away from the community designation style of tribune and bloc voting?

    Is there some kind of implicit threat, that if SF ae not permitted to exercise ministerial power something untoward might happen?

  • That was a post-election broadcast on behalf of the Rafia Party 🙂

    “a Sinn Fein yet to get to grasp with the legislative and executive skills expected of a party in government and still suffering from the backlash (in this electoral grouping) of the toxic cloud”

    Are the South Armagh oil-wells still pumping, Chris? There’s a toxic cloud over Rathlin. Should Murphy and Robinson resign over the Rathlin ferry scandal or do Ministers consider that a matter of considerable ‘insignificance’? Why does that occasional Slugger contributor, Daithi McKay, remain silent?

  • TUV 1st time voter

    Liam,

    I “don’t have to accept” anything that you have put forward – that’s the beauty of democracy.

    You ask for my alternative? Im quite content with Direct Rule in some format if it means no former terrorist is making decisions about my family’s future.

    As if the Assembly is working anyway – look at it. On education, the Maze stadium, water charges, planning legislation, future of social housing provision, policing and justice – you name the topic – the Assembly is incapable of making a decision and just puts things off continually to another day.

    All this – while cynical MPs and MLAs suck up as much public money as they can in personal expenses.

    If thats the future I need to “move on to”, you can keep it.
    If thats the future, you ca

  • “SF have a mandate and that must be respected.”

    hahahaha. The old canard waddles again 🙂

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Chris,

    the DUP had a far harder job selling the GFA/STA to their supporters than SF – as this was a settlement designed in the main to buy off republican violence and whatever about the negative noises the DUP made they were inching forward as required and taking most of their supporters with them even if it was under the cover/spin of keeping SF in their place.

    This may well turn out to be a very bad election result for SF as any inching the DUP will want to do now will be backwards with the inevitable breakdown in Stormo.

    One other bit of good news for SF, to go along with the satisfaction of topping the poll is the non reshuffling of the excellent SOS who hopefully has a good stint in front of him – but with Tories and FG poised to assume control – very dangerous times are ahead.

  • Liam

    TUV: So your issue is with ‘former terrorists’ in government? As a SF supporter, I have to look at MLAs who sit on the DUP & UUP benches who served as RUC & UDR men during the conflict and who were engaged in a concerted sectarian campaign against my community. However, I am prepared to extend the hand of friendship and engage in some form of conflict resolution for the benefit of the generations who come after us all.

    The assembly, while not perfect is much more effective than direct rule. We have locally elected politicians making the decisions that impact on us all as opposed to English MPs who wouldn’t know the difference between Bangor and Ballymurphy.

  • “Such a [O’Loan] prospect would doubtlessly have galvanised an SDLP vote”

    Alban was well up my list but I wouldn’t have touched either O’Loan, not even with a Taylor 40-foot barge pole.

  • “We have locally elected politicians making the decisions that impact on us”

    Quite, Liam. The DRD and DFP committees were found wanting when they had a chance to question the findings of the Rathlin ferry investigations report. The questioning was left to a few ‘concerned democrats’ and an admission of illegality was extracted despite the machinations of a £55,000 inquiry.

  • slug

    I think the TUV success can be seen as telling the DUP not to underestimate the intelligence of the electorate with their talk of having negotiated something new – when it is really not that much different from what the UUP/SDLP negotiated.

    Its not all about powersharing. Its also down to a very strong candidate for the TUV who relates to peoples annoyance at the DUP’s apparent up-themselvesness. The people think that the DUP are enjoying the money and expenses a bit too much. The Swish Family Robinson in particular. Paisleys too.

    The DUP are also an in-power party and suffer the electorate’s anger at the quality of government. People don’t love the Exec and they DO see it as a DUP/SF coalition. So they blame the DUP for its failings, that is democracy.

    Although the Executive may have some difficulties in the months ahead I don’t think that things will be too unstable in the longer term.

  • Respect My Mandate!

    Liam, as for the ‘conflict’…most people draw a distinction between criminal terrorist activity (from whatever quarter in society) and the actions of those exercising lawful authority. If you wish to level allegations at security forces, tear away, they are equally subject to the law. But as I suspect, you wish to draw equivalence between the two, well I guess that is just an immovable barrier between our kind,; something more to be fought over.

    Your willingness to reach out the hand of friendship and forget your party’s murderous and criminal past is touching, but in an era when they have ditched every promise made to their ‘community’ during the ‘conflict’ – internal settlements and not an ounce come to mind – Unionists should not be quick to take up your hand of friendship in the spirit of reconciliation until it is firmly established in your community’s mind that the rule of law exercised by the RUC and UDR is the very same rule of law now exercised by SF in the devolved super council of Her Majesty’s Parliament that is Stormont.

    While direct rule is not my preference, would you care to address my suggestions and questions above as to why the Assembly in your view cannot respond to a better normative view of democracy, accountability, voter choice and reconciliation through institutional leadership?

  • Pigeon Toes

    Poor ould Declan, wonder will he be advocating the form of selection that he deems to be fair?

    “I note that no bidder was ruled out at the pre-qualification stage, and hence no one can claim to have been disadvantaged”

    Despite the process not being scored as advertised and later reported.

  • “this was a settlement designed in the main to buy off republican violence”

    Agreed, Sammy. The UUP-SDLP spectrum could do little other than tweek the settlement in the face of London and Dublin’s determination to contain the activities of the loyalist and republican paramilitary godfathers to Northern Ireland.

    Washington was only interested in trimming republican feathers as loyalists weren’t impacting on Washington’s spheres of interest.

  • Greenflag

    Chris ,

    A 12% turnout for the TUV would mean approx 6% of the total Northern Ireland electorate . Also Allister was a known candidate .

    All the TUV have to offer the voters of Northern Ireland at best is

    a) direct rule which means they end up as tiny rump at Westminster or

    b) political instability with a strong possibility of a return to large scale sectarian violence .

    We forget that a large section within Unionism did not vote for the GFA – just under 50% if memory serves me whereas within Nationalism some 90% favoured the GFA . Thus by default th GFA is seen as a ‘nationalist ‘ win regardless of DUP performance in the Assembly . It may be that without a Paisley type leader the DUP will ‘collapse’ (given the obvious tension within it’s ranks between the ultra fundamentalist 17th century religious nutters and the modern pragmatic ?

    The TUV vote only matters within Unionism but only to the extent that ‘unionism ‘ matters within Northern Ireland . With an average turnout of just over 40% in strong majority Unionist areas it seems to me that a large section within ‘Unionism ‘ are not greatly exercised by the continuing fragmentaion within the unionist electorate and did’nt bother to cast a ballot ?

    A pox on all their houses perhaps ?

  • Was that a Declan O’Loan quote? Sheesh. It’s nice to know that we have such ‘competent’ MLAs holding the Executive to account!!

    Perhaps some SDLP stalwarts will explain the party’s relative impotence in the face of this and related skulduggery.

  • The TUV voter may rue his wish for direct rule albeit we might be lucky and get a Tory Government rather than Blair and Hain.

  • Greenflag

    Liam ,

    ‘as opposed to English MPs who wouldn’t know the difference between Bangor and Ballymurphy.’

    Oh yes they do . They know that Bangor is in Wales and that Ballymurphy is the title of an Irish TV series starring an English Catholic priest having a few difficulties settling in with his local Irish parishoners 😉

    BTW -It’s not that they don’t know -it’s just that they don’t want to know or would rsther not know. After all England is England and their politics are very different from Northern Ireland ‘politics ‘ and I don’t see that changing significantly any time soon despite the ‘new force ‘

    The SF performance in this election just underscores that reality .

  • Greenflag, you’re under-informed – once again 🙂

    I gave Jim my #1 because he and his staff were prepared to do something that most of the MLAs and MPs couldn’t or wouldn’t – effectively challenge the actions and decisions of Ministers and senior civil servants both in Stormont and Westminster.

    As you can imagine, Jim wouldn’t touch my shared sovereignty et al proposals but his argument against SF in power parallels that of most present and recent past party leaders in the Dáil. Is there then a ‘pox’ on Ahern et al?

  • King J

    Very frustrated at the TUV… agree at times with sentiment but don’t see another route past compromise.

    Good strategy all- well done – split the vote further. Anyone recall South Belfast (twice?) . What will happen at next GE ? Cheerio North Belfast and Upper Bann ?

    Disgrace… we need another unionist party like we need …(insert answer here)

  • accidentally on porpoise

    we need another unionist party like we need PR at Westminster elections?

  • Mayoman

    “if it means no former terrorist is making decisions about my family’s future.”

    That would include the party of gunrunners and ex-UVF killers you voted for before switching to the Mark Harbison-alligned TUV, would it TUV-voter?

  • Cushy Glenn

    oh dear
    Still some do not recognise the seismic shift of Thursday.
    Punt is now Trimble mark 2.

    If Allister loses, he’s free to contest North Antrim at Westminster ( all tallymen I’ve heard from in various parties say he topped the poll there). He can split the Unionist vote in enough other DUP seats to need to be courted- whether by Punt officially or queasy MPs indirectly- look closely at North Belfast in particular
    If there’s an assembly election he can count on 8-10 Unionist seats- possibly more. That’s a powerful bloc which can..er… block

    Most importantly, policing and justice is now dead. Is Punt going into a general election within 11 months with a minimum of a third of his already alienated voter base aggravated further? And then there’s the assembly election to follow

    THe Shinners will be calculating about how much they can get from the terminal Brown government by threatening to collapse the assembly when Punt welshes on the P & J deal. If there is an attempt to impose joint authority the DUP’s 9 votes would jump to Dave, and who’s to say how important that might be if tough economic votes are too unpalatable for marginal and disillusioned labour MPs? You have to wonder if there isn’t a little piece of the Shinner leadership clique who don’t secretly wish they had 5 votes in play at Westminster. Not to mention the inevitable benefit to Allister that such a decision would produce.

    Soooo.. Punt has to keep the project alive, renege on a key commitment that brought it into being,then try to keep the Shinners on board and prevent joint authority being imposed, re engage with his core vote, and not burn his bridges with the incoming government which has linked up with his oldest enemy. Blimey- he’s in a worse place than Trimble…..

  • Gram

    A 12% turnout for the tuv would obviously indicate 88% of the population is pro agreement. The agreement is thus secure.

  • Not wishing to interfere in the implosion within Unionism, but the bottom line here is that this will be a significant victory for Sinn Fein on many fronts and also for the broader Nationalist/Republican cause.

    Make no mistake, a divided and split Unionism significantly weakens the Union. Particularly if that involves a broadly equal electoral split between 3 different Unionist parties. This is not a situation which is going to disappear overnight and the prospect of a bitterly-divided Unionism on the horizon (for perhaps the next decade or more), can only strengthen and empower the broader Nationalist cause.

  • Greenflag

    Nevin ,

    ‘Is there then a ‘pox’ on Ahern et al?’

    Short answer in these times – yes . The political form is quite contagious -even the shining white knights of FG managed to contract a dose in a fit of political opportunism this week as they fumbled with overtures to SF .

    Whatever about Allister’s personal work ethic and diligent service his failure to be exposed to the virus of power sharing may increase his political life expectancy in the short run -but longer term as American indigenes found out to their cost it’s a killer -i.e total non exposure .

    In the physical world viruses usualyy ‘evolve ‘ to the point where they refrain from killing their host as that usually brings their own end too . Why would it be any different with political viruses ? Even viruses must have something to live on such is the nature of a parasite .

  • Well lets the say the TUV (Jim Allister) did not stand – would it be fair enough to say that a significant percentage who voted for Allister would not have voted at all? Surely Jim Allister standing increased the unionist options and thus increased voter turnout. And he has been the most forceful in advising his supporters to transfer within the ‘unionist family’.

    Where’s the splitting? He’s the incumbent. Significantly, come 2011 Assembly, this could benefit overall unionist voting and transferring down the ticket.

    If you want to blame anyone – you blame the parties choice of candidate if they cannot attract enough votes – and you blame that parties message/policy.

  • Greenflag

    ignited ,

    ‘Jim Allister standing increased the unionist options and thus increased voter turnout’

    So your logic then is that if Allister had not stood then the ‘Unionist ‘ turnout would have been 30% instead of 40% and by default the Nationalists would have had Maginnis elected along with De Brun ?

    So in effect the TUV stopped Maginnis ? I can’t recall which of an earlier myriad of Unionist parties combined to weaken the SDLP and promote SF after the failure of Sunningdale but the words deja vu and TUV seem a proper fit 🙁

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    It seems the main prerogative of the TUV is to abandon the power sharing with the Shinners at all costs.

    And so the TUV will not recognize Sinn Fein. But how long will they maintain this position? Forever? (….as what the DUP and the UUP once maintained).
    This is a rather stunted ideology, for it’s sending NI back to the bad old days of bad old ‘traditions’.
    Considering that the Shinners set to lead the latest elections according to early reports and speculations, this stance by the TUV is leading Unionism back into a deep hole of non participation and indifference – and of basically losing a grip on the reality of what constitutes NI society today.
    The reality is that within these years there appears to be a major turning point happening in NI politics right before our eyes and it doesn’t concern the TUV.
    By the looks of it the Shinners are here to stay, ‘permanently’ in NI politics and I suppose Unionism must recognize the fact. Running away from the ‘monster’ they made ain’t gonna exorcise the republican demons. Hiding in so called halcyon days of 1950’s Ulster of discrimination and B Specials won’t progress Unionism.

    (BTW, Saw a chap wearing his NI jersey in Dublin city yesterday. Folk were indifferent, no one cared, and sure why should they. People move on.)

  • Cushy Glenn

    get with the program gram
    If one section of the population is so riven as to be unable to commit to the project then it’s becalmed. As Gregory used to say- it’s got to have the support of the majority of Unionism and nationalism to work. The DUP have the lead role at present, and its wheels have come off, with at least 40% of its vote abandoning it.

    And your maths are awful. 88% of a 42% poll isn’t a majority of the electorate. Abstainers by definition don’t support what’s on offer, so I think we can safely say a healthy majority of well adjusted people reject the present constitutional abortion

    If you think everything’s rosy, I’ll bet you a crisp £50 that there’s no devolution of P & J by Christmas (£20 for next Christmas)

  • question mark question mark

    I wonder where my colleagues silverline, Carson’s cat and ?? have got to.

    Anyhow I think it’s clear that the majority of unionists support the DUP and that they love the assembly even more than we do.

    Roll on the next election and the TUV will be dead

  • Pigeon Toes

    “Was that a Declan O’Loan quote? Sheesh. It’s nice to know that we have such ‘competent’ MLAs holding the Executive to account!!”

    Yes and in writing.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    “Punt is now Trimble mark 2.”

    …and Allister wants to be mark 3!

  • Greenflag

    gram ,

    ‘A 12% turnout for the TUV would obviously indicate 88% of the population is pro agreement. The agreement is thus secure.’

    Full marks for the mathematical accuracy 🙂 but your interpretation of same does not follow . Population does not equal electorate particularly when those who vote make up just about 50% of the total electorate ?

    macswiney ,

    ‘a divided and split Unionism significantly weakens the Union.’

    I’m reminded of the comments of a Frenchman who said after the reunification of Germany in 1990 that he loved Germany so much that he preferred when there were two Germanies . Presumably a Pole might have loved Germany so much that three Germanies would have been preferred while the uber germanophiles in Russia would have preferred 5 or 6 Germanies .

    We on the ‘nationalist ‘ side should so love Unionism that we should encourage at least a dozen Unionist parties if not more 😉 . You can’t have too much of a good thing eh ?

    The internal divisions within Unionism is just symptomatic of both the inherent contradictions within that doctrine as it faces a much stronger ‘nationalist’ identity within Northern Ireland and how it (unionism ) comes to terms or doesn’t or can’t with that new reality .

    Chances are that by the time Unionism gets it’s act together even if such is possible it may only come at a time when ‘unionism ‘ drops to ‘minority’ status within NI. While such is not on the cards results such as this election may show that it’s a future which Unionism will have to adjust to -sooner or later .

  • Chris Donnelly

    macswiney

    I’d be careful about drawing those conclusions.

    There is always a temptation to engage in a bit of schadenfraude when faced with a divided opponent, but it is far more important to ask the question: how are republicans and nationalists going to set about achieving our shared objective of Irish unity?

    Splits within unionism are irrelevant, unless the opportunity they present for nationalists to maximise their political objectives are fully exploited, including by taking steps to secure support for the shared objective from one of the fragmented blocs.

    We are entering a dangerous period ahead for nationalists, with the Tories taking over in Britain and Fine Gael in the South.

    Now is the time for both Sinn Fein and the SDLP to get serious about developing real policies and strategies to deliver the shared objective of reorienting politics on a north-south basis.

    That means Sinn Fein getting serious about policy development and delivery, and the SDLP finally making decisions about who they are and what they want.

    Nevin
    I truly know nought about oil pumps, nor really do I care.

    And on the Rathlin affair, I know this is your ‘puppy’ but either it’s a case of a massive conspiracy between politicians of all major parties and the media to hush up this affair, or it’d appear you’re somewhat exaggerating the significance of the story.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Chris,

    Whilst the UCUNF project remains in its infancy, and with considerable problems of its own, it has at least seemingly served to stem the tide of disillusioned Ulster Unionist voters transferring their vote to the hitherto buoyant DUP, and may even result in a modest increase in percentage share of the overall turnout on the 2007 low for the party.

    The waters are waaaay too muddy to be coming to this conclusion at this stage. Unionism appears to have fragmented significantly during this election, and the DUP foolishly ran a terrible candidate. Asking people to vote for someone who is clearly out of their depth is insulting their intelligence, and the electorate obviously never like the feeling that they are being insulted.

    Many of my nationalist friends transferred to Nicholson ahead of Dodds, believing that the UUP are “moderate”. I’m not sure what your position on this would be, but this seems to be a popular misconception. A party which votes against devolution of policing and justice powers in an attempt to frustrate progress on that issue, and which denies a Catholic the role of Mayor in Newtownabbey essentially because of his religion, is not moderate. People like David McNarry and the Loyalist Commission he sat on are not moderate.

    The real problem for the DUP is to be found in the party leadership’s collective failure to sell power-sharing with the grassroots, with all that entails for acknowledging as equals in government and society their nationalist neighbours- a problem, ironically, which they share with David Trimble and which provided the opportunity for the DUP to assume the mantle of leadership within the unionist community so decisively in 2005.

    The other problem here, and I think it’s a trap you’re falling into, is the attempt to use this election as a referendum on the power sharing arrangements. The DUP appear to have attempted to avoid addressing powersharing directly, instead focussing on the simpler message of topping the poll. Allister on the other hand was quite open about his effort to use the poll as a referendum on the DUP’s record in government. A better DUP candidate, pushing the message that Sinn Fein’s ambitions have been significantly restrained (which is the truth) might have worked better.

    There is now little room for maneouvre for the DUP. Having endured the early blows and humiliations as part of an unpopular republican leadership-led strategy to provide room for Ian Paisley to ‘sell’ St Andrews and bed in the DUP within the power-sharing administration, the leadership of Sinn Fein signalled an end to that particular strategy in the summer of 2008 through the Executive stand-off and the delivery of a clear message to the DUP that Sinn Fein could and would exercise its veto powers to frustrate the ambitions of DUP Ministers if a more consensual approach was not forthcoming from the very top.

    I’m afraid that’s absolute nonsense, Chris. Sinn Fein backed down and assented to the DUP’s roadblock on policing and justice powers. They backed down because they have no allies in London or Dublin and nowhere to go, and it’s likely that this strategic situation for them will worsen if/when the openly Unionist-sympathetic Conservatives win the next general election. There is no hope even for a coalition of some kind with the SDLP to make a joint argument for nationalism. Sinn Fein have no option but to accept the DUP’s primacy, and if progress on the devolution of policing and justice powers does come, it is likely to come with a great big padlock that prevents Sinn Fein from getting anywhere near that ministry for a “political lifetime”.

  • “The internal divisions within Unionism is just symptomatic of both the inherent contradictions within that doctrine as it faces a much stronger ‘nationalist’ identity ..”

    Greenflag, it’s hardly a badge of pride that so many Irish nationalists, of whatever hue, should embrace the Rafia. By comparison, the Udafia seems to have more support within the southern Irish political establishment than it does amongst Unionist voters.

    Many Unionists come from the schismatic Presbyterian tradition so it’s hardly surprising that internal divisions erupt when a sense of unity would be more important for their cause.

  • gram

    >>”And your maths are awful. 88% of a 42% poll isn’t a majority of the electorate. < >Abstainers by definition don’t support what’s on offer, so I think we can safely say a healthy majority of well adjusted people reject the present constitutional abortion”<

  • Comrade Stalin

    Most importantly, policing and justice is now dead. Is Punt going into a general election within 11 months with a minimum of a third of his already alienated voter base aggravated further? And then there’s the assembly election to follow

    I think there are ways to proceed with the devolution of policing and justice powers, but that requires providing a guarantee that this is something that benefits everyone, not just Sinn Fein, and that Sinn Fein won’t get their hands on the ministry. It’s a bit crap, but that’s the way it’s likely to be spun.

    The Shinners will be calculating about how much they can get from the terminal Brown government by threatening to collapse the assembly when Punt welshes on the P & J deal.

    Well, the answer to that should be obvious – fuck all. And anything they do get stands a good chance of being reversed when the Tories win the next election, which may occur much sooner than the end of the lifetime of this parliament.

    If there is an attempt to impose joint authority the DUP’s 9 votes would jump to Dave, and who’s to say how important that might be if tough economic votes are too unpalatable for marginal and disillusioned labour MPs?

    I agree that the setup in Westminster means that Sinn Fein aren’t going to get anything out of London. This should now be obvious given that they have failed to get London to push on devolution of policing and justice powers, and the Irish language act. Aside from all that, the politics of the present just don’t allow for these pesky NI politicians to take any sort of precedence. Labour is too busy with infighting and dealing with other disasters.

    You have to wonder if there isn’t a little piece of the Shinner leadership clique who don’t secretly wish they had 5 votes in play at Westminster. Not to mention the inevitable benefit to Allister that such a decision would produce.

    I’ll bet that this is a subject which will come up when SF visit London in a few day’s time, to try to find a way for them to exercise their votes in the Commons without looking like they have jettisoned yet another of their principles. Nonetheless, it can’t go anywhere. Brown’s rather dubious appeal to British nationalism from the past won’t sit well with any effort to water down the oath and it will play right into Dave’s hands.

    Soooo.. Punt has to keep the project alive, renege on a key commitment that brought it into being,then try to keep the Shinners on board and prevent joint authority being imposed,

    I do not see how joint authority can happen, not without a major civil war.

    re engage with his core vote, and not burn his bridges with the incoming government which has linked up with his oldest enemy. Blimey- he’s in a worse place than Trimble…..

    No, I think that the Punt will block the devolution of P+J. Sinn Fein’s options are very limited. They may walk out and collapse the assembly, leading to a return to direct rule (albeit with more powerful local councils) which, under the Conservatives, isn’t likely to benefit nationalists in any way which is significant, and which will suit the DUP just fine as, in one stroke, Allister’s raison d’etre is gone. Or they can stay in and lump it, living with an arrangement where the DUP continue to call the shots in order to keep Allister at bay.

    There is nothing that Sinn Fein have got in their back pocket that they can use to scare the DUP. Like I said earlier, they have no allies in Dublin or London, there is nowhere they can get pressure brought to bear. Washington might have been an option in the past but it’s hard to see even what they can do.

  • gram

    greenflag:

    >>Full marks for the mathematical accuracy 🙂 but your interpretation of same does not follow . Population does not equal electorate particularly when those who vote make up just about 50% of the total electorate ?<

  • Comrade Stalin

    By comparison, the Udafia seems to have more support within the southern Irish political establishment than it does amongst Unionist voters.

    I thought better of you than to restate this rubbish, Nevin. If nobody supports the UDA then why do they exist and manage paint their names and colours over gable ends ?

    Why are unionist politicians like Jim Allister distinctly lacking in urgency when it comes to their murders ? Why can William McCrea stand on a podium alongside Billy Wright and not face a hammering at the polls for so doing ?

  • “either it’s a case of a massive conspiracy between politicians of all major parties and the media to hush up this affair”

    I think you could be ‘sexing-up’ my analysis, Chris 😉

    Granted, apart from Sam McBride of the Newsletter, the MSM here has been unusually quiet. By comparison, RTE, Cork 96FM, the Irish Examiner and the Irish Times have (belatedly) given quite good coverage to similar shenanigans in Cape Clear, Co Cork.

    Many politicians and civil servants in Belfast, Edinburgh, Dublin and London have been briefed but, in the words of a friend, they couldn’t run a bath never mind a country.

    Just look at my recent blog: “Rathlin Ferry – MCA Admission – A Calmac Response”.

    MCA Chief Executive: “technically the full term certificate onboard remained invalid from 1 September until 11 September 2008 – ie during the period beyond the expiry of the annual survey range dates.”

    So, a ferry operator carries passengers with an invalid passenger certificate and therefore no insurance, the MCA allows the illegality to continue and the DRD, MLAs and MSM remain mute.

    This is just one of a number of examples from the scandal that I and others could list.

    There may well be conspiracy somewhere in the process but there’s a massive dose of incompetence as well as a degree of cover-up.

  • Stalin, you may have misunderstood my ‘rubbish’. Perhaps I needed to add that Unionist parapoliticians (UDP and PUP) got a much lower percentage of the Unionist vote than Nationalist parapoliticians (SF and the ‘micros’) did.

    The UDA and other paramilitary organisations continue to exist. Joe and Josey Public are unlikely to raise their heads too far above the parapet in those communities where the risk of baseball bat and iron bar ‘justice’ pertains.

    I took the same view of John Hume standing on a podium alongside Gerry Adams as William McCrea standing alongside Billy Wright – it was bad for democracy. Pan-Unionism and pan-Nationalism have each embraced ‘unsavoury elements’ over the constitutional question.

    I was very disappointed with the slowness of the TUV response to the McDaid murder and other attacks in Coleraine and I wasn’t impressed by what eventually appeared.

  • Adds: than Nationalist parapoliticians (SF and the ‘micros’) did on the Nationalist side.

  • fin

    Nevin, Ulster Resistance ?

  • kensei

    Nevin

    I took the same view of John Hume standing on a podium alongside Gerry Adams as William McCrea standing alongside Billy Wright – it was bad for democracy.

    Actually, given that the net result of Hume standing there was the reach of democracy was greatly extended and the IRA is out of business, you are exactly 180 degrees wrong in this.

    Hume was there to move the IRA out of business and SF towards democratic politics. McCrea was there to rattle the saber. I am astonished you are so myopic can’t see the distinction.

  • Reader

    fin: Nevin, Ulster Resistance ?
    Can’t see them here:
    http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/sutton/tables/Organisation_Responsible.html

  • Kensei, would the respective mobs have got at each others’ throats had it not been for the ‘street theatre’ of the likes of Hume and Paisley? From where I’m standing, they both have a lot to answer for.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    “Hume was there to move the IRA out of business and SF towards democratic politics. McCrea was there to rattle the saber. I am astonished you are so myopic can’t see the distinction.”

    True indeed, Hume was pouring cold water on the embers while McCrea was stoking them up!

  • samuel Jones

    Jim Allister and TUV have won regardless of what happens at the count, i have never voted anything other than UUP but i went with allister as he works hard and his proposals for the assembly ie a formal opposition and end to mandatory coalition are reasonable and would improve efficiency and accountability, the DUP are nauseating hypocrites who have been found out, its interesting to note the friendship and good relations that exist between the UUP and TUV activists i can see a good working relationship there that will benefit unionism in the future

  • 6countyprod

    It would seem that the TUV may succeed where republican dissidents failed.

    The RIRA/CIRA failed to set us back a decade or so with their murders, but the TUV might just pull it off.

    Almost enough to make you want to emigrate!

  • fin

    now now Reader, we were getting on so well. Try this.

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/sunday-life/news/a-spectre-from-the-past-back-to-haunt-peace-13904018.html

    Peter Robinson told one rally: “The Resistance has indicated that drilling and training has already started. The officers of the nine divisions have taken up their duties.”

    if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, chances are …………

  • John East Belfast

    Macswiney

    “Make no mistake, a divided and split Unionism significantly weakens the Union”

    I dont agree.

    If anything the one big unified unionist party of the 20th century actually weakened the Union. It got lazy and presumptious.

    Competition is good as it keeps parties on their toes and will require contunual innovation of thought, strategy and policy.

    All unionists have something in common – we all support the Union – the problem is we disagree (and at times fundamentally) on how best to advance and protect it. We can also be split on the spectrum of moderate to extreme with devotion to religion playing its role there.

    Strategy moves from integrationists, alligmnet to established UK political parties through to Develotionists, Power Sharers and then right onto Majority Rulers.

    I dont see any of this as a weakness but as a strength.

    When SF top the pole that will be more an indication of Nationalist weakness than Unionist. Apart from it being a shame that so many nationalists could express support for the IRA SF are ultimately clueless anyway in terms of 21st Century Govt.
    How could anyone vote for a Party that keeps Caitriona Ruane as a Minister ?

    As for Unionist unity there will be no disunity when Border Poles come round.

    When it matters there will be the unity requires but until that time we will chart our own paths – ultimately they all lead to the one place

  • “Nevin, Ulster Resistance ?”

    and the Third Farce, fin?

    BTW there’s not much ‘Ulster Resistance’ in the face of the Rathlin ferry scandal. ‘Munster Resistance’ is rising: Cléire Abú

    PS Perhaps some of our Irish speakers could provide translations for the likes of me.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    “i have never voted anything other than UUP but i went with allister as he works hard and his proposals for the assembly ie a formal opposition and end to mandatory coalition are reasonable and would improve efficiency and accountability,”

    “When SF top the pole that will be more an indication of Nationalist weakness than Unionist.

    No wonder Unionism is in disarray with this sort of thinking!

  • Pigeon Toes

    http://www.supportcapeferrycrew.com/index.php

    The Cape Clear ferry (operator of Rathlin route)workers were out on strike on Thursday.

    The owner has unilaterally cut their wages.
    27% Skipper 22% crews plus he is asking that they work an extra 4 weeks unpaid.

    No one appears to have Sinn Fein in Cork that their Minister’s dept in Belfast gave this employer the Rathlin contract…

  • Comrade Stalin

    Nevin, I interpreted your point earlier as a restatement of a fundamentally sectarian unionist party line, ie Catholics support terrorists at the polls and decent Protestants don’t.

    As well as being sectarian, it’s economical with the truth. Unionist politicians evidently do not think that taking a stiff line against loyalist paramilitaries will benefit them at elections, that’s why they don’t do it. From the incident with McCrea and Wright, to the Alexander Bar raid a few years ago where Nigel Dodds criticized the police (during an operation that resulted in senior loyalists being prosecuted for christ’s sake), to the situation a few weeks ago where unionist politicians all worked together and sought to deflect blame away from the UDA and indeed, in the case of Jim Allister, waited five days before issuing a flimsy wishy-washy statement on it, there is a clear pattern that unionist politicians see themselves as political representatives of loyalist paramilitaries.

    Loyalists themselves evidently don’t think that unionist politicians are their enemy, given that they help to do their postering during elections.

    The reason why I get worked up about this, apart from the fact that loyalist paramilitaries are littled more than volatile psychopathic criminal thugs and they are a blight on the entire community, is because this myth that loyalists don’t receive support at the polls is used to advance a fundamentally sectarian line which opposes political progress and reconciliation in this country. Please don’t repeat it again.

  • John East Belfast

    Greagoir

    “No wonder Unionism is in disarray with this sort of thinking!”

    You just cant see it can you.

    The majority of nationalists voting for a Party allied to an organisation that brought nothing but misery upon this part of the world for the best part of 30 years.
    Are we also to believe that all northern nationalists have a marxist economic view of the world ?

    The fact that a moderate right of centre nationalist party cant trump such a party (as it is clearly squashed on every occasion in the South) is totally indiactive of northern nationalist weakness and lack of imagination.

    When the Unionist paramilitary parties stand they get clearly trounced at the poles – as they should.

    Infact what is inherently wrong with northern nationalism that it feels the need to express itself via such people and such a Party ?

    Meanwhile unionism is involved in a debate – trying to win the hearts and minds of NI voters who support the Union. That debate will to and fro. But it is inherently healthy and as it is many stranded will ultimately maximise the overall unionist vote.

    SF shot its militant Irish Republican bolt and with the collapse of the Celtic Tiger its only hope is a sectarian head count because ultimately it is clueless.

    It is nationalism that is in disarray but either cant or chooses not to see it.

  • Greenflag

    GOF ,

    ‘“When SF top the pole that will be more an indication of Nationalist weakness than Unionist.

    No wonder Unionism is in disarray with this sort of thinking! ‘

    This is the kind of thinking that used to portray every 5-0 defeat in an international soccer game as a ‘moral ‘ victory’ ? Already we have had Turgon putting out the failsafe position for When Dodds defeats Allister for the last seat ? i.e No matter if she wins it will be considered a major defeat ?

    No doubt Unionism will win any future border referendum by amassing 40% of the vote to their opponents 60% ?

    Northern Ireland needs more Unionist parties . The more the merrier .

    The more lambs , goats and sheep you put in the lion enclosure at the azoo then it’s all good news for the lion. Gets a varied diet you see 🙂

  • fin

    “When SF top the pole that will be more an indication of Nationalist weakness than Unionist”

    “How could anyone vote for a Party that keeps Caitriona Ruane as a Minister ?”

    Possibly so that she can improve the standard of english on Slugger, or are Sinn Fein really going to top some Polish person

  • “Nevin, I interpreted your point earlier ….”

    Therein, lies your difficulty, Comrade Stalin.

    “volatile psychopathic criminal thugs and they are a blight on the entire community”

    Agreed, though I lump the republican and loyalist thugs together in this. It’s an ecumenical thing.

  • “it’s all good news for the lion”

    Greenflag, is the Celtic tiger suffering from irritable vowel syndrome?

  • “their Minister’s dept in Belfast gave this employer the Rathlin contract…”

    Yes, Pigeon Toes, it makes you wonder what Minister Murphy is doing if the civil servants are making the key decisions.

    Unless, the Minister is telling a ferry terminal inexactitude …

  • “The reason why I get worked up about this”

    Comrade Stalin, please correct me if I’m wrong but I thought you were an Alliance party aficionado.

  • “When SF top the pole … are Sinn Fein really going to top some Polish person”

    fin, I thought the pole was greased rather than polished …

  • latcheeco

    Agreed Fin,
    I was wondering if the thread had moved on to the electoral preferences of strippers in Krakow.( top of the pole, border pole etc.)

    JEB
    Dissent is healthy but fracture isn’t.

    Comrade,
    I hate to be a cynic but they (SF) may have cards to play in the inevitable vacuum(given to them by proxy) that strengthen their position with whoever is HMG

  • fin

    oh Latcheeco, you would lower the tone…;)

    Re. your point about SF with cards to play, on the flipside do unionists have anything left to play. The TUVies like to think that AJ would collapse Stormont and opt for direct rule, others think the DUP might beat him to it, however, would a Labour govt up to its neck in other more important issues allow them, or would a newly elected Tory PM want the unravelling of the NI process on his CV, could the assembly continue with just the UUP on board?

  • Greenflag

    Nevin ,

    ‘is the Celtic tiger suffering from irritable vowel syndrome?’

    No. According to Nobel Prize Winner for Voodoo (Economics )Paul Krugman who was here the other day it will take 5 years to get back to where we were circa 2002. Biffo won’t have liked that . George Lee (he of the I told you so -late in the day school of prophetic journalism) is now one of the members for Dublin South .

  • Erasmus

    You ask for my alternative? Im quite content with Direct Rule in some format if it means no former terrorist is making decisions about my family’s future..
    In reality it would probably be direct rule bordering on joint London/Dublin authority.

  • Erasmus

    We are entering a dangerous period ahead for nationalists, with the Tories taking over in Britain and Fine Gael in the South.
    Whence all the paranoia about FG?
    FG/FF = tweedledum/tweedledee

  • Mason Powell

    As a first-time poster on Slugger I find all the current speculation fascinating, but (having spoken to a number of people who have been trying to tally votes by peering through the wrong side of ballot papers)I would prefer to await the real results before deciding whether to thumb my nose at the wretched DUP and say “Didn’t you learn ANYTHING from Trimble’s fate?”

    Oh yes. Liam. You mentioned that Sinn have a mandate “and that must be respected.” Hitler had a far larger democratic mandate than SF has. Should the Allies have respected his mandate and just let him “get on with it”? Did his mandate justify what he did?

    The fact of the matter is that Sinn Fein would kill to have a mandate as big as Hitler’s.

  • Mason Powell

    Apologies for dropping the “Fein” from “Sinn Fein.” Shinful of me. Or maybe a Freudian shlip.

  • Greenflag, do you mean this Paul Kruger: “Erin go broke”? Perhaps he mellowed his tone whilst he was a guest in Dublin ..

  • samuel Jones

    Gregoir

    Hume was used to get the provos and SF off the hook when they realised that the police and army had effectively defeated them, they could not fart without intelligence knowing and were riddled with infomers from top to bottom, the Unionists moved to soon and could have got a better outcome had they accepted the molyneaux line and stretched the system while offering a settlement, this would also have saved and enhanced the uup

  • latcheeco

    Samuel,
    Your point is very similar to the point the losers in Vietnam often made, but they were still losers.

  • kensei

    Nevin

    Kensei, would the respective mobs have got at each others’ throats had it not been for the ‘street theatre’ of the likes of Hume and Paisley?

    Yes. There were larger forces at work than single men.

    From where I’m standing, they both have a lot to answer for.

    I cannot believe you have placed Hume and Paisley in the same class.

  • samuel Jones

    latcheeco
    you have consumed to much agent orange, a border poll would show 70% for the Union so its a bit silly to suggest that unionists are loosers, i am simply highlighting the fact that the negociations leading up to the return of stormont rule could have been handled a lot better when time and circumstances were clearly on the unionist side, mandatory coalition is bad for democracy and good government irrespective of were its applied

  • latcheeco

    Samuel,
    Your post suggests you think they lost. 70% wtf? It wasn’t even 70% in 1922

  • latcheeco

    Agent Orange?
    Is that that poisonous crap that stifles growth?

  • Dave

    A vote for a nationalist party shouldn’t be considered as the same thing as an anti-union vote. Unspecified quantities of them are ‘nationalist unionists’ – yeah, I know it’s a mega-oxymoron, but NI is full of them. They’re nationalists who support the union but who don’t vote for unionist parties. That’s the result of a schism between the nation and its state. Culturally, they are members of the nationalist community but, constitutionally, they regard the UK as a guarantor of the status quo. To them, it isn’t necessary for the nation to control the state, so the concept of the nation-state is readily dispensed with.

    The odd thing about the GFA is that it locks the two nations into a struggle for control of the state while stipulating that neither nation should have control of the state because the state must be shared by consociational government and by a constitutional framework that is agreed between the two nations. It’s a mild form of schizophrenia. So, back to this schism: because the GFA is an anti nation-state agreement (a sort of bi-nation-state replacement), then the dynamic of that is that those nationalists who are ‘nationalist unionists’ (who don’t see the nation as requiring control of a state) are now the group who are most in tune with the GFA and the group who are most likely to grow in numbers as a result of it.

    That is why you have the UUP linked up with the Conservatives and made a pitch for them. I don’t think they’ll vote for them, but are more likely to stay within the fold based on membership of a community, voting for parties within that fold but, of course, remaining loyal to the union if a poll is ever called. So the pitch isn’t really needed. All that is needed is to ensure that the community they belong do not feel unduly disenfranchised so that the benefits of remaining within the union are not outweighed by any perceived cultural disadvantage of it.

    And let’s face it, most of the nationalists in NI are a self-serving bunch (What’s in it for me?), so subvention is what keeps them there. The acid test of that is to tell them that the Irish taxpayers have no intention of keeping them in the style to which they have become accustomed, and then see how many of them would vote to maintain the union. I suspect that the vast bulk of them would out themselves as de facto unionists at that point. Okay, they wouldn’t out themselves as de jure unionists because then they’d lose the advantage of them need to pamper them in order to keep them within the union.

  • samuel Jones

    latcheeco
    There are more Catholics who support the Union now than 1n 1922, theres a big difference in being culturally nationalist and voting sdlp or even sf and giving up the security and economic well being that uk membership affords.
    the catholic middle management that now runs the civil service, health service councils in northern ireland may wear gaa shirts and support the republic when they play ni but in the confidentially of a ballot box many of them would vote to maintain the status quo, hardline protestants complained for years that catholics were taking over thease jobs but many of them now realise that it was actually in the unionist interest

  • fin

    Samuel and Dave, at what point will these nationalist unionists show themselves, I’m guessing you’re going to say during a border poll, but why, thats brinkmanship surely, there is little between nationalist and unionist votes in any election at the moment, why wait for a crunch vote to appear. I’m sorry but if these people existed they would have appeared in voting patterns by now, and also a % would be visible at least in the Alliance and/UUP.

    I really wouldn’t depend on the votes of a political grouping that you can’t even prove exists.

    A potentially more likely group that exists are unionists who don’t care, the evidence for this group is the falling unionist turnout at elections, to be honest I think unionism would struggle to get the vote fully out in a border poll, especially if there was a good offer on the table for unity.

  • samuel Jones

    sure
    a 100 euro bill to see the doctor is a mighty enducement for prods to put thier confidence in a republic, if you were raised a good ulster protestant you would know that there is no salvation in self deception, the garden centre prod even came out and voted for the gfa and have not bothered to vote since, threaten to take away thier citizenship and lessen thier quality of life and it will be every prod to the polls

  • OC

    Samuel, if I could ask you a quick question – no need for a long reply (though feel free to email one):

    What is your feeling towards some form of a NI Irish Language Act?

    a. Mostly for
    b. Mostly against
    c. None of your business

  • samuel Jones

    oc

    none apply, i would like to see the rights of the genuine irish language user protected and enhanced if needed but i dont want a SF inspired instrument of oppression and turf marker, ‘every vowel learned as good as a bullet fired’

  • latcheeco

    Samuel,
    Sorry but I think you’re kidding yourself. Any evidence to support your claims? Garden center prods are as big a myth as the one million prods nonsense was. And I wouldn’t know where to start with the GAA shirt wearing, Keane cheering catholic unionists. Here’s a better way of looking at the whole population of the north: 1/3 rebels, 1/3 loyal and 1/3 open to persuasion (same as the colonies during the American Revolution)

  • Greenflag

    latcheeco ,

    ‘Here’s a better way of looking at the whole population of the north: 1/3 rebels, 1/3 loyal and 1/3 open to persuasion (same as the colonies during the American Revolution)’

    Possibly true but with one major factor of significance omitted . I refer to geographical distance .

    3,000 miles instead of 50 or 12 in the north east channel .

    Had the USA been as close to the UK as Ireland then the American War of Independence would have been defeated before it began -if it began at all at all ! .

  • latcheeco

    Greenflag,
    Agreed, the feckers probably would have ended up partitioning Dixie off from the damned yankees 🙂

  • samuel Jones

    the american war of independence was for large part an irish on irish affair look at the american comanders and the british army commanders and they were all of irish protestant background, you cannot compare northern ireland which is a fully integrated part of the united kingdom with an 18th century colony

  • OC

    i would like to see the rights of the genuine irish language user protected and enhanced if needed…

    Posted by samuel Jones on Jun 07, 2009 @ 04:06 PM

    I’ll take that as an at-least-not-mostly-against!

    Thank you for your honesty! NI needs honest men.

  • downpatrick nationalist

    less than 15% of the total vote was anti power sharing! says it all!!!!!