DUP hubris has cost Unionism dear

The DUP have taken a royal kicking at the polls. They billed this election as them against Sinn Fein and by extension Unionism against Nationalism. Whilst that may be an argument worth making, they framed it in the dubiously useful context of poll topping. For them winning the election was about coming top of the pile. As it happens they came perilously close to not even topping the unionist poll. As a result, on their own terms, the DUP have emphatically lost this election, even before you consider that they failed to make a quota.The election was lost entirely due to hubris and arrogance. The DUP’s comparatively sudden rise to the top of unionism has bread an arrogance amongst their attitude and actions that has paralysed their ability for forethought that has been so admirable up to now. They were so sure that they could crush Jim Allister that they built an entire campaign around it, so arrogant that they played a zero sum election that risked the humiliation they currently enjoy. But the arrogance about elections has been prevalent for quite some time.

The DUP’s negotiations at St Andrews produced the idiocy of the largest single party nominating the First Minister of Northern Ireland. Whilst the First Minister and deputy First Minister are equal and identical offices in all but name, the DUP have deliberately and constantly fostered a perception in the unionist electorate that they are not, and that the First Minister alone speaks for Northern Ireland. But reality doesn’t follow the plot devices of a Colin Bateman novel. Now it is clear that there is a defined split in the Unionist vote that will make it almost impossible for a unionist party to emerge as the largest single party. That this gifts Sinn Fein the First Minister’s seat is entirely the responsibility and fault of the DUP, they created that system to try to blackmail the unionist electorate, but they have clearly failed. As a result, unionism may be forced to accept that Sinn Fein will have to have their turn in the top job, just as the DUP seemed to promise them the job of Assembly Speaker after the next election.

But how Peter Robinson reacts to this election is key to whether there is an election at all in 2011. Does he hate the UUP enough, and love his current lead position enough, to collapse devolution to prevent losing the election? I wouldn’t necessarily rule it out, but for me, the important decision he has to make is about the likes of Willie McCrea and Gregory Campbell. Both are going to lose their positions of responsibility at Stormont, probably this week, what pressure will they exert on Robinson in reaction to such a crushing electoral disappointment? Jim Wells’ Assembly seat is almost certainly gone at the next election, and Lord Morrow is far from safe too, in what direction will they be pushing their leader? All indications today have been that the DUP leadership will be resisting the urge to lunge to the right, but how many of their own people can they carry on that path with Jim Allister waving P45s in their faces?

The final results of the European election are in truth entirely logical. The TUV has taken the DUP pre 1997 core vote, and the traditional UUP vote is now shared between the UCU and DUP. Perhaps the much trailed realignment of Unionism will occur now, and maybe it will involve those who wish to see devolution continue, and who recognise that mandatory power sharing is necessary in the medium term will unite to save and develop the devolutionary settlement. If Peter Robinson tries to reject this idea, and seeks to fight on two fronts, surely he will fail. My concern is not that the DUP will be destroyed, but that the political stability that we currently enjoy will go with it. Jeffrey Donaldson was entirely correct yesterday to say that a majority of unionists voted for parties not opposed to powersharing. The logical conclusion to this is that Jeffrey Donaldson wishes to abide by that mandate given by the Unionist people. The DUP are going to have to have a long hard think about how to do that.

  • Seceder

    jeffrey has never really cared that much about mandates at elections or votes – 71% of the people of Northern Ireland in a 85% turnout backed the Belfast Agreement – and Jeffrey and his mates rejected it! The Ulstre Unionist Party consistantly voted to push on with the Belfast Agreement and Jeffrey opposed the mandate give to David Trimble until he jumped ship.

    THe DUP grass roots toldthe Leadership they didn’t accept the St Andrews Agreement but Jeffrey and hsi mates could smell the leather seats (all £980.

    It will be an amazing thing if the Robinson DUP learns anything from this election but who knows maybe pigs will fly

  • Pedant

    “The DUP’s negotiations at St Andrews produced the idiocy of the largest single party nominating the First Minister of Northern Ireland.”

    Specifically what part of the St Andrews Agreement states this?

  • Michael,

    Thank you for that interesting perspective. However I take issue with a few of your conclusions;

    1. I want to see the political stability destroyed. Unionists should not share power with terrorists, regardless of the rewards that come the way of appeasers.

    2. The rule of law comes before political deals. Since we are informed that Irish Republicanism has signed up to this there should be no problems, right? Assuming they mean it, of course.

    3. The DUP won’t lunge to the right as they are in truth even further to the left than the UUP. At least Trimble didn’t grin when in power with the Butcher Boy. I think that you are right in saying that the UUP and DUP are now competiting for the same pro-devolution pro-power at any price vote and that may be the undoing of Unionism, since the attendant schism may lead to Republicans gaining absolute power.

    It’s been an election time which has shown up how smug and out of touch the DUP have become. I delight in their misfortune and am only saddened that the Banbridge Banshee got a seat at all. She makes Farmer Jim and Mrs Doyle look good!!

  • Sliver

    As it happens they came perilously close to not even topping the unionist poll.

    Arguably they didn’t. UCUNF were comfortably ahead of them on Alliance and Green transfers alone, even before Allister’s transfers. If even only 27% of those soft unionist centre votes in a FPTP election would have gone to UCUNF in an election where an Alliance vote would be wasted UCUNF would be ahead.

  • AJJM

    Michael, its common knowledge that you are a UUP member, yet I feel you aren’t on the same page as your Conservative colleagues. How do you define unionism?

  • Sliver

    The final results of the European election are in truth entirely logical. The TUV has taken the DUP pre 1997 core vote, and the traditional UUP vote is now shared between the UCU and DUP. Perhaps the much trailed realignment of Unionism will occur now, and maybe it will involve those who wish to see devolution continue, and who recognise that mandatory power sharing is necessary in the medium term will unite to save and develop the devolutionary settlement. If Peter Robinson tries to reject this idea, and seeks to fight on two fronts, surely he will fail. My concern is not that the DUP will be destroyed, but that the political stability that we currently enjoy will go with it. Jeffrey Donaldson was entirely correct yesterday to say that a majority of unionists voted for parties not opposed to powersharing. The logical conclusion to this is that Jeffrey Donaldson wishes to abide by that mandate given by the Unionist people.

    The slight majority of unionists voted for the GFA on the understanding that disarmament would occur by May 2000 in the same time frame as prisoner release.

    Donaldson left the UUP because he said that the commitment to disarm was not there, Trimble said it was and got a letter from the British Prime Minister to that effect.

    Sinn Fein stalled and did not implement the agreement that unionists thought they had voted for. Trimble and the British government reneged and went into power sharing without disarmament. In the eyes of the average unionist Donaldson was proved right.

    The electorate voted for the DUP en masse, NOT because they ceased to support the agreement (some did, some didn’t, exactly as before) but because the agreement that they did narrowly support was not even being implemented. Forget the spin, it wasn’t.

    The DUP achieves disarmament and joins power sharing. Currently most unionists support power sharing while a minority do not and their votes switch en masse from DUP to TUV.

    My point – there is not the slightest evidence that the unionist electorate have changed their views on anything. Different parties have changed their views and the electorate have stuck to their guns switching votes between parties as those parties change to represent their views or cease to represent their views.

  • EyeOnTheNorth

    David Vance,

    If Unionists shouldn’t share power with terrorists, why weren’t you calling for the DUP to ditch the former terrorists in their own ranks before they sat with the Shinners in Stormont.
    Are you another Unionist denier? Blind to the terrorists who right now, this very day, have more sway in Loyalist working class areas than any politician, whether UUP, DUP or TUV?
    Or are you the sort of Unionist who thinks that all UVF/UDA men are just misguided souls who maybe went a bit far, but their heart was in the right place due to their desire to wipe dirty taigs and provos off good, British Ulster streets?
    PS, Irish Republicanism is more than just Sinn Fein, it covers decent, law-abiding people who wish to have their rights heard and be represented in a political set-up. The entire world cringes when they hear Unionists even use the term ‘power sharing’ as it makes them out to be greedy schoolchildren who won’t share the sweets around. Power belongs to all democrats, so get sharing, as it’s not all yours, capeesh?

  • Mick Fealty

    Before David comes back on that old one, perhasp you should read his book first, EOTN.

  • SM

    David Vance

    What realistic proposals do you have to offer for government in NI? Or are you not interested in anything other than your own principle of screaming “never”.

  • Neil

    perhasp you should read his book first

    LOL, ROFL etc. That’s the best one I’ve heard on here in years. Once you’ve finished that EOTN, saying’s were making suggestions as to how you waste your time, have a crack at Mein Kampf too, I’m certain it’s as enthralling, and less offensive.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Shillers! It’s been so long, but where oh where to begin? I know, let’s plunge straight in with: “The election was lost [sic] entirely due to hubris and arrogance” – so what does that make it, 1:6, 1:7, 1:8? Never mind, and moving swiftly on – the DUP vote split almost exactly in half, virtually none of those votes went our way? Why? Is this the Shillerist-Regite recipe for success: keep flatlining, and pray that your rivals implode round you? You assert that, ‘the First Minister and deputy First Minister are equal and identical offices in all but name’. Is this the Turtle’s position? He’s always argued quite the reverse: has he changed his mind or have you changed yours (your having always supported Testudine exegesis in the past)? “Does [the Punt] hate the UUP enough, and love his current lead position enough, to collapse devolution to prevent losing the election?” Because collapsing devolution is a sign that you hate unionism?! Remind me, again, would that make it 1:4 for such hate crimes, vis-à-vis DUP vs DUP, or 1:5? And anyway, in what possible circumstance would the Punt attempt to collapse the instutitions: sketch them out for us, if you would? Most lesser minds have thus far anticipated the Provos maybe trying to, via Sinn Fein walking out, but how exactly would that a.) be the DUP’s fault or b.) be grounds for HMG giving in to SF’s patently transparent bluff? Unless, of course, you have swallowed wholesale the Republican analysis . . . oh wait. “the traditional UUP vote is now shared between the UCU and DUP” – that would be ‘shared’ in the rarely employed sense of, ‘not having even half of one what used to, and not having any access – hitherto called ‘sharing’ to that half one no longer has’? FR Leavis had nothing on you Shillers. Yet trust Shillers to end on the most Spacerish note struck on Slugger for many a long year: “Perhaps the much trailed realignment of Unionism will occur now, and maybe it will involve those who wish to see devolution continue, and who recognise that mandatory power sharing is necessary in the medium term will unite to save and develop the devolutionary settlement”. Uh perhaps, but then again, perhaps Shillers will tell us a.) why ‘mandatory power sharing is necessary [he means compulsory]’; b.) indicate some vague sense of what voters might take ‘the medium term’ actually to mean (and why, in the bould consensual world of the Agreed Future Where Terrorists No Longer Kill People SF should ever voluntarily agree to that; & c.) is there not even one single soul in the UUP who has leartn othing from Trimble’s fatal, fatal mistake? That lethally stupid error was, natch, to believe in something Shillers calls ‘the devolutionary settlement‘: which led the Turtle to passively sit on what he thought were his (and Unionism’s gains) and thereafter lie back and wave goodbyes to all its losses. There is no such thing at ‘the settlement’: there can’t be: the ‘other side’ doesn’t wish to settle. It tells you that in thought, word and deed every time you ask them. They are absolutely unambiguous in this regard. How can you be so fricking dense as to not understand this even now? God knows, whatever his other faults, at least the Punt realises that we operate in a dynamic environment, and noot the artificially stagnant one Shillers claims to believe in. So all in all, perhaps not is the answers to this, as with so many other of Shillers’ queries.

  • Andrew Gallagher

    I quote from the St. Andrew’s Agreement Act 2006:

    (4) The nominating officer of the largest political party of the largest political designation shall nominate a member of the Assembly to be the First Minister.

    (5) The nominating officer of the largest political party of the second largest political designation shall nominate a member of the Assembly to be the deputy First Minister.

    http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2006/ukpga_20060053_en_3#pt2-pb2-l1g8

    It would appear that so long as Unionists form the largest political designation, there will be a Unionist FM. The OP is indeed mistaken.

  • Michael Shilliday

    (6) If at any time the party which is the largest political party of the largest political designation is not the largest political party—

    (a) any nomination to be made at that time under section 16A(4) or 16B(4) shall instead be made by the nominating officer of the largest political party; and

    (b) any nomination to be made at that time under section 16A(5) or 16B(5) shall instead be made by the nominating officer of the largest political party of the largest political designation.

  • Bigger Picture

    When will David Vance learn that throwing personal insults about does nothing to improve your credibility and only makes you look childish and pathetic?

  • Pedant

    Andrew/Michael

    Thanks for your answers to my query about where the reference to who becomes First Minister is to be found. However they do not, in fact answer the question.

    The three best pieces of advice before answering a question are;

    1 Read the Question
    2 Read the Question
    3 Read the Question

    Your answers refer to the Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Act 2006 not the St Andrews Agreement.

    My question was where the reference is in the St Andrews Agreement which predates the Act?

    The clue for the question was in the name!

    PS Andrew St Andrew’s is where Birmingham City play football. St Andrews is the town in Scotland which hosts the Open from time to time and was the venue for multi-party talks in 2006!

  • Andrew Gallagher

    Hm. Naively I thought that the St Andrews Agreement Act was a faithful transcript of the St Andrews Agreement. Are you saying the Act and the Agreement differ on this matter?

    Also, that will teach me to read the whole thing. Sorry, Michael.

  • Pedant

    Andrew

    Yes, you are correct.

    The Act contradicts the terms of the Agreement. It is not even a question of the Agreement being silent on the issue and then the Act filling in the blanks.

    Hope the facts don’t get in the way of Michael’s rant!

  • Al Ghurair

    In 2004, the DUP polled approx 175,000 fist pref votes on an anti-power sharing ticket. That’s 175,000 people opposed to power sharing. This time, the anti-power sharing candidate won 66,000 votes – that’s a loss of some 109,000 votes. So, rather than a great victory for TUV, that’s a pretty big loss in support for their position. Meanwhie, the 80,000 who voted for DD this time represents 80,000 convertees to power sharing… abig increase in support for the current arrangements. It’s all in how you look at it… lies, damned lies, and statistics….

  • Pedant,

    On another topic (the debate on the proposed Irish Language Act) I have already raised an issue as to whether or not section 28D properly reflected the part of the St. Andrews Agreement.

    Your observations suggests it does not. It suggests that after the Agreement was made, the DUP looked at the draft legislation and decided to haggle and demand changes ….and got them.

    Section 16(c)(6) was then inserted as an amendment to the draft St Andrews Bill as also was section 28D which then, as far as the DUP were concerned, obviated the need for an Irish Language Act.

    Very interesting.

  • Comrade Stalin

    That’s a long post about what a bunch of bastards the DUP are. I’d like to talk about the UCUNF, whose result represented a 0.5% increase over their 2004 result. I’ll put my hand up right now and say that my feeling that the UCUNF project was going to get a serious drubbing and end up with around 12-14% has turned out to be wrong, almost certainly owing to Nicholson’s clean performance in TV interviews (as compared to Dodds) rather than any new shine brought by the Tories. However, the 18%+ predicted by the hacks on here has turned out to be somewhat optimistic also, and I there were bets taken with myself and Sammy Morse on this result being achieved. I hope you guys will honour them.

  • Inspector Cleauso

    Congratultaions Michael on UCUNF’s great election victory!

    Jim Nicholson, UCUNF – 82,893

    And 5 years ago?
    Jim Nicholson UUP 91,164

    (by the way I do acknowledge that the DUP’s vote fell drastically-but they aren’t crowing about being “back and back in style”

  • Inspector Cleauso,

    It may not have occurred to you that the turnout dropped by 9%.

    Lets suppose the turnout had only been 50,000 and we got 17% of that (8,500) and got elected, we would have been quite happy with that as well!!!

  • Michael Shilliday

    Is that an application to write for Private Eye L(T)U?

    Your first argument is based on the assumption that no voter crossed over from the UUP straight to the TUV. Clearly some did. So for the vote to be up 0.5% from 2004 and 2.2% from 2007 it is clearly the case that a small but significant number of DUP voters came back to the UUP. Yes the raw number of voters decreased, but for the first time in a long time the UUP share of the vote is up from both the last election to the same body and the last election. That isn’t flatlining at all.

    In terms of pulling down the institutions, it is a possibility but I did say not a good one. If he were to lunge to the right to appease his own wingnuts it would bring the whole thing down. As it is he seems to be trying to steer the middle path, which is certainly a good thing. I only included the possibility as just that, a possibility. Appointing McCausland to DCAL may seem like a lunge, but I suspect that Robinson knows that this is actually what Sinn Fein want. They love a good whinge, and providing Nelson as a target for Republican ire may provide a welcome distraction that allows the two parties to cobble something together on policing and justice.

  • John East Belfast

    I personally know of two “Labour” unionists who switched their UUP vote to SDLP because following the UUP alliance with the Tories they felt there was nobody else they could vote for.

    Most of the unionists I know who couldnt be arsed to vote would be Tories.

    I think the Tory link probably cost the UUP more votes than it gained at this election and the great challenge for the UUP is to get Tory orientated unionists out for the General election.

  • GavBelfast

    Couldn’t they have voted Alliance. Or Green?

    Seems a bit odd.

  • slug

    What one really wants is for SDLP to link better to the two other Labour parties so that unionists would feel better about casting a Labour vote for the SDLP.

  • IJP

    slug

    That is the crux of the SDLP’s difficulty, as I see it.

    It really cannot decide whether it is “Green” or “Red”.

    While I don’t see it as some mammoth breakthrough, I do think UCUNF’s showing is evidence that if you take a course and stick with it, you’ll do ok.

    Ultimately the question is do these parties want identity politics (a perfectly legitimate form of politics, by the way, just one that I personally feel is deeply damaging in NI), or do they not?And if the final version of “non-identity politics” is Green-Yellow-Blue, is there even room for red?

    Alban spoke gamely and, I felt, genuinely about the need to tackle division. The problem is, his own party does not represent an organisation which has tackled that division even internally, far less one likely seriously to prioritise it externally. It’s all a bit confused and, unless it’s resolved clearly, there is every evidence that at least the “Green” and the “Yellow” (and perhaps even the “Blue”) will start taking significant SDLP votes.

  • IJP

    Ahem, my above posting is also confusing – I mean the SDLP cannot decide whether it is Green (Nationalist) or Red (Social-democratic). Otherwise, the “Green” refers to green politics.

  • People should remember that the Irish Labour Party has ruled out expanding into the north once and for all. And we know the British Labour Party has no interest in standing for elections here. So even if the SDLP wanted such links, they couldn’t forge them. On top of that, a lot of the SDLP are not social-democrats, hence the push to join up with FF.

  • EOTN,

    I favour execution for all lawfully convicted terrorists. Is that clear enough for you as to where I stand on UVF/UDA/IRA?

    SM,

    I believe the people of Northern Ireland are entitled to the same standard of democracy as that enjoyed elsewhere in the UK and indeed in every other democratic country in the civilised world. That means that mandatory power sharing that underpins the Assembly is totally unacceptable. We must be allowed to CHOOSE who and in what combinations parties can come together and govern. No unionist worth his or her salt would enter into any arrangement with the IRA’s proxies and that is why the current malignant institution at Stormont will not endure. You saw what happened in the European election and that is the beginning of the end for the perverse undemocratic system of government that the DUP and UUP happily endorse.

  • 6countyprod

    DUP hubris has cost Unionism dear What a ludicrous title. Under UUP ineptitude and incompetence Unionism was almost destroyed, more like. ‘DUP courage has cost them dear’ would be a more appropriate heading.

    After having inherited an absolute mess from the UUP, the DUP was able to successfully claw back some credibility and integrity for Unionism. Trimble, Empey and the rest of their cronies gave everything away to nationalists and republicans and it was left to the DUP to redress the balance.

    Having achieved a vastly more equitable deal for Unionism than the UU’s, the DUP then followed through on their agreements and commitments by entering into government with the representives of the nationalist community. For their pains they have been portrayed as traitors by their TUV detractors, and in the process have lost around 43% of their former supporters.

    You should be showing some appreciation to the DUP for firmly helping to secure 72% of the unionist electorate to the pro-Stormont, pro power-sharing position instead of kicking them when they are down.

    Shame on you, Shilly!

  • Comrade Stalin

    David,

    A great set of policies. Why don’t you stand for election again, so that we can all be reminded of precisely how popular you and your views are ?

  • james

    dup ethics and virtue must be questioned in their actions during the europe elections.
    If they were really concerned about unionist unity -why was dodds placed in the running for the seat ?
    Quite simply moshe paisley`s doctrine declared that any seat acquired by them become their property as of right and should be handed down through family.The truth something paisley has forgotten or maybe never knew is that every seat belongs to the people alone.
    The years of listening to that gulpin so called defending Ulster calling all that differed a lundy is not forgotten when he agreed to put in gvt the very party he tried to smash with his big sledgehammer.
    Robinson states no option to powersharing -why why did we suffer when Paisley aka as the demon doctor pulled down the sunningdale agreement.
    Think of it Paddy devlin Gerry Fitt,Austin Currie
    what real threat did they pose -only to the big mouth because he was not in the big seat.
    Amoralself interest greed and an ego that should have been straight jacketed is Paisley`s et al legacy to this benighted land

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Yeah, Comrade, you get up there on that high horse of yours and lecture folks on how few votes they get, election after election after election. Even by Smug standards I think you may well have achieved a new record for Utter Lack of Self-Awareness, otherwise known as The Fordie.

  • Driftwood

    james
    Friggin well said man.

  • SM

    David Vance

    I don’t like the Stormont system but it has been part of a process which has lead to SF being ministers of the crown in the UK, and to the IRA stopping fighting and decommissioning. What more could those who are unionist want? Do you really need to humiliate SF or something? If so then you are mucked up.

    As peace becomes embedded the perceived need for mandatory coalition will fade and we can have better functioning structures.

    Your problem is that if you can’t have your idea of perfection you don’t want anything. Your arbitrarily chosen principles have blinded you to the grey realities of the moral choices in life.

    Vótáil le hAthrú – Beidh David Cameron ina Phríomh-Aire

  • SM

    James

    Well said, or indeed written… 🙂

  • Mike

    On the issue of the fact that the Northern Ireland (St Andrew’s Agreement) Act 2006 differs significantly from the St Andrews Agreement on the (s)election of the First Minister and deputy First Minister:

    According to the recent biography of Ian Paisley, SF realised after St Andrews that they had slept in when it came to the FM/DFM nomination mechanism.

    They therefore pleaded with the Government to change the legisation to allow for the largest party overall to nominate the FM.

    And the DUP went along with this – both parties knew they would be able to say “vote for us or else that lot will get the FM post”.

    The DUP played that tactic for all it was worth in 2007 and will do so at the next Assembly election.

    If they were seriously worried about the prospect of a SF FM, they would have protested at the quiet altering of something that was clearly laid down in black and white in the St Andrews Agreement.

  • EyeOnTheNorth

    David Vance,
    You talk about how u wish to switch to a one party governing system, but u fail to remember that there are 2 distinct communities, and therefore nationalities in some respects, both of whom need representation at te highest level. The problem is that Unionist desire to be different from native Irish has caused a seperation mentality on a small island which has led to bigotry and secterianism due to the belief that they are superior. This resulted in hatred and sectarianism, and sparked it in some nationalists towards unionists in return.
    So the need for mandatory coalition is caused by your own bigotry to rebels, papists, taigs, whatever u want to call them.
    Besides, are you seriously claiming that if a unionist party such as the DUP made up the entire executive, then nationalist culture would be respected and upheld to a good UN standard?
    It would be a return to the sixties, with catholics told to know their place. (The DUP don’t even support a visit here by the Pope. They seriously don’t want that ’cause they tink he’s the bloody antichrist!! In 2009!! It’s embarrasing!)
    Also, what would u do if Sinn Fein won the assembly elections and fully ruled the roost….after this weeks results, it could happen…there’s no way the likes of you would say ‘fair enough, you won your place according to my democratic beliefs’.
    You and ur ilk would call for the dissolution of the entire Assembly structure, or even spark a freakin’ civil war.
    Even David Burnside was suggesting that if Sinn Fein got the First Minister post come 2011, unionists had a ‘duty’ to bring down the Assembly! And this from a so-called UUP member….christ, Alister would be proud of that one. Then again, he was singing the TUV leader’s praises at his standing down ceremony a few weeks ago, in front of a no-doubt embarrased Jim Nicholson no less.
    So, let’s face it Vance, your political path leads nowhere but up your own arse, so pull your head out, get real and live in respct of your nationalist neighbours. We want to be friends, so either integrate or go live in Great Britain, and see how they welcome your form of Britishness, you’ll be unpleasently surprised in between being called a ‘Paddy or a Mick…Good for Nuthin’ but stackin the brick….Ohhhh I’m missin’ you, under Picadilly’s nee-hee-ee-onn’.

  • Driftwood

    Eye on the North
    Nothin’ wrong with being a British ‘Paddy’

    Jeremy John Durham Ashdown: commonly known as Paddy Ashdown

    Robert Blair “Paddy” Mayne

    No different than ‘jock’ or ‘taff’

  • borderline

    David Vance writes:”I believe the people of Northern Ireland are entitled to the same standard of democracy as that enjoyed elsewhere in the UK and indeed in every other democratic country in the civilised world”

    Sounds reasonable.

    But Northern Ireland isn’t like other countries. It is a false country, it’s borders decided for reasons of sectarianism.

    That’s why we don’t have elections like other countries, we have headcounts.

    Always did, do, and until the constitutional question is resolved, always will.

  • Silly Boy

    MJS – “mandatory power sharing is necessary in the medium term” Personally, I think that if Sir Reg Empey is not returned after this election in a position to be First Minister, that we should not take our seats in the Executive.

    On other musings – I can’t wait! On this trend it is almost inevitable that SF would form the biggest party in the Assembly and eligable to claim First Minister. What then for power sharing? What then!?

  • Comrade Stalin – you’re not Peter Robinson, perchance? It’s just Peter said the same thing to Jim Allister. You got your answer on Monday – 70,000 times over. Deal with it.

    SM,

    It has led to a system that rewards terrorist godfathers and there is no hiding from that central truth. Mandatory power sharing is a tyranny and must go.

    EOTN,

    Does it excite you to use language like taigs and papists? It’s not a vocab I use.

    What you and your ilk – to borrow your terminology again – need to understand is that democrats will not accept the IRA in government. Not today, Not tomorrow, and we will not sit with them. Wait for the change and in the meantime, spare me your republican gibberish. Why would the end of the Assembly lead to a “civil war”. Where would the weapons come from – who would do the killing…unless you meant those who have allegedly turned their backs on terrorism 😉

    Try harder.

  • I would like to see Martin McGuinness become first Minister so that we can attack him for his record of incompetence, not because he is a former terrorist. However, in the very unlikely event that he does a blinder or running the Country, Northern Ireland benefits.

    You cannont turn the clock back, whether you like it or not. Unionists have made their bed. They need to grow up and move on.

    Lets just concentrate on running the Government of Northern Ireland.

  • Cushy Glenn

    “Having achieved a vastly more equitable deal for Unionism than the UU’s”

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha- even Pavlov’s dog wouldn’t arf for that line

    That would be the deal which has Marty poised to become first minister ( ok slightly bigger joint first minister) because your lot dropped the ball on “majority community” nominations; the deal in which the IRA can murder as long as they’re not proven to be “corporately” involved; the deal in which the provos have a mutual veto with you on any political progress.
    Yeah great result mate. I know there are going to be some vacancies for the assembly soon, but that is too groveling a job application even for Punt.

    Incidentally, I see the great Lundy himself continues to have his ego stroked by the unveiling of his portrait in Westminster. Apparently he read his Bible while being portrayed by the NIO’s dauber. Presumably he skipped past that part where Samson was paraded in captivity for the amusement of the Philistines – the great champion of the Hebrews shuffling on to the circus stage for the derision of his enemies….

  • SM

    David Vance

    Who are you to speak for all democrats? I am a democrat and I don’t have a problem with SF in government, if they have been voted there legitimately. I don’t like it but that is the system we voted for in GFA referendum.

    You and your kind offer us NOTHING, no alternative, no hope, no vision, just stubbornness and rants about SF. You have achieved nothing – acceptance of NI as part of UK unless a majority vote otherwise, SF as UK ministers, IRA stepped down, decommissioning – all achieved in spite of you not because of you.

    As Seymour wrote above, grow up.

  • EyeOnTheNorth

    Vance,
    You do realise you’re promoting a complete juxtaposition right? How can democrats reject a party who half the population of NI have voted for DEMOCRATICALLY!
    If u refuse to take part, then you are the one who is slapping democracy in the chops.
    Anyway, let’s end the bullshit…the IRA have totally dissolved. Decommissioning has taken place, and they accept the PSNI and peace.
    Sinn Fein certainly have a shameful past, but tough tits…get over it, they have been voted in.
    And if you want to know where the guns would come from in a civil war, then dont look at SF MLAs, try looking in your own back yard.Loyalists haven’t given up one bullet, and clearly don’t wish to.
    Strong words from unionist politicians should SF get First Minister could cause loyalists to angrily reject the Assembly, and in the words of Ian Paisley,’spark a fire that wont be put out’.
    And quit the moral outrage over SF in government. You and ‘your ilk’ have vocally and publically supported loyalist terrorists for years, from graveside oratorys for bombers, to attending funerals of murdered Loyalist godfathers.
    From starting your own paramilitary groups and importing guns, to xupporting openly sectarian and paramilitary themed parades past the homes of grieving widows in Coleraine.
    So if u call yourself a democrat who hates violence and terrorism, start acting like one and join the Stormont gravy train, and start openly demanding the removal of terrorists who run Loyaist areas under the threat of guns which they still have.
    PS, I’m not a Republican.
    Try harder old fruit.

  • Now Now children – try and keep this civil.

    EOTN,

    My first name is David, use it.
    Interesting that we just have to “get over” the IRA’s past. Best let murderers get away with it, right? Your moral depravity may ring a bell with some here but I can think of 70,000 people who don’t run with it. The place for terrorists is at the end of a rope, or failing that, a prison cell. You may not be a republican – just a moral bankrupt.

    Seymour Major,

    Yes – loike EOTN you are happy to set aside decency and justice. Sorry, we don’t all buy that.

    SM

    You may think you are a democrat but by accepting mandatory power sharing and terrorists in government you show you don’t understand the essential tenet of democracy that those who operate outside the law cannot be part of government. Get back to me when the IRA Army Council has resigned, when we get a published inventory of IRA decommissioning, and when the IRA vermin behind Claudy, La Mon and Enniskillen have paid for the crimes they authorised. If you know what I mean.

  • EyeOnTheNorth

    David
    Very fair points, but the Provo terrorists have gone, so wy not start using this fire in your belly against terrorists to help ged rid of UDA/UVF etc?
    Unionists are happy to court terrorists when on the campaign trail, and DUP, PUP & even UUP are guilty of this.
    At least the old IRA hands working street level for SF during elections have officially ‘stood down’ and decommisioned.
    The NI conflict is so bogged down with atrocities on both sides, that it is impossible to move forward when constantly throwing events around…’La Mon’ ‘Enniskillen'(Don’t forget Greysteel, Dublin, Monaghan etc) etc.
    These were terrible events but we need to draw a line now they are in the past. In order to prevent any more loss of life over this patch of mud.
    Both main politicalparties here have dabbled outside the law, so call it quits. You’re still wrong bout democrasy though, the ‘law’ is simply distilled democratic will, so if society in the majority decide to put the past aside for the sake of no more brains blown out across our streets, then that’s the law.
    This has been proven by the fact that SF are voted in by half the population. Clearly and the unionist electorate you have made your piece wit the DUP and UUP for their paramilitary antics, for you never criticise them.

  • EOTN,,

    I have criticed the UVF and UDA for YEARS and am on record for doing so. I was one of the few who dared criticise David Ervine, for instance. I have NO time for any terrorist scum and agree that the UDA/UVF need marginalised and punished. Luckily, they do not get support at the polls, unlike the IRA.

    Also – as to the law. You suggest it is little more than the “settled will” of the people. On this logic, the Holocaust was lawful since the German people did rather support Hitler. Do you see where that line if thinking ends?

    The truth is there are certain eternal rights and wrongs ONE of which is that you should not reward those who murder and maim, extort and terrorise. As a society, we do. As a human being, i oppose this. That’s all, really. And I think therer are 70,000 now like me. Its a start.

  • EyeOnTheNorth

    DV
    I’m not asking you to criticise the UVF/UDA – that should be a given if you’re a human being.
    I’m talking about the Unionist politicians whom you have voted for in the past, and their links with the paramilitaries.
    In your final paragraph, are you referring to the British Army’s antics in Ireland over the last centuary? You see where that line of tinking ends?
    Also there’s a difference in law and morality – sadly it was once German law to hate Jews. Luckily the rest of the world made it ‘globally illegal’ so to speak.
    The world has fully backed the peace process which has a newly peaceful Sinn Fein, so you can either rant about how the rest of the world is wrong, a la 1940’s German leaders (I’m not using th ‘N’ word), or get on with national and global progression, so that the Troubles don’t happen again.

  • Amused Observer

    Bread, an arrogance!

  • SM

    the essential tenet of democracy that those who operate outside the law cannot be part of government
    Posted by David Vance on Jun 10, 2009 @ 09:51 PM

    You made that one up yourself.

    Our structures are not perfect but then none are, or can be. And ours have lead us down the road to peace, and in time we can change them to make them better.

    Life is a journey, and imperfection inevitable – you fail to accept that and want perfection now.

    In any case if SF jumped through all the hoops you set them I bet you’d come up with more you’d “forgotten” because you hate them and nothing will stop that. They were legitimately elected, deal with it.

  • fin

    Amazing I think its virtually impossible for a republican to pick a fight in here you lot are so busy bashing each other, I’m going next door theres a couple of Green Party supporters on that thread who deserve a slap ; )

  • Comrade Stalin

    David, any time you have stood for election you have lost. Wisely you have given up that idea and gotten into punditry instead. It’s a shame because it’s worth seeing pundits getting beaten again and again at elections to remind us how few people actually agree with them.

    And let’s talk about democracy. 13% of the voters who cast a valid ballot supported a candidate who wants the existing power sharing arrangements to immediately end (even though he himself supported them in the past). The other ~87% cast their ballot for candidates who support the arrangements we have, to a greater or lesser extent. I don’t see what you or the TUV have to crow about.

    And by the way, exposing your real views on terrorism is easy. All anybody needs to do is ask you about the Irgun and the bombing of the King David Hotel.

  • David,

    Your view is a minority view. It has no prospect of being accepted. The simple reason is that it is “cul de sac” politics.

    If Martin McGuiness becomes First Minister in two years time, what are you going to do?

    Would it be to try and ‘Huff and puff and blow the Executive down?’

    Instead of protesting, perhaps we could hear from you about what you will do when it actually happens.