The DUP have lot to learn about communicating with their base…

I’ve a piece coming out on CIF later today, focusing on the DUP’s not inconsiderable difficulties arising from this result. But it seems Chris has hit the mark for the party’s leader and Northern Ireland’s First Minister, who quotes him on this interview on the BBC:

“The reason it (the election results) has happened is that very high profile people within the party have been in government. I’m not one who regularly blogs but I did read one comment which I thought was pertinent where it said Sinn Fein have an awful lot to learn from the DUP in terms of governance but the DUP have an awful lot to learn from Sinn Fein in terms of communicating with their base. There’s a lot of truth in that.”

High Five Mr Donnelly!

  • Mark McGregor

    Excellent! Mr Donnolly DUP policy/speech writer, that’s one for the CV.

  • RepublicanStones

    Treat yourself to an extra few Guinness at the weekend Chris (or maybe Mick will 😉

    I’ll go now and scrape my jaw off the floor, after hearing the Punt kind of….well…compliment the Shinners !

  • At least we know the Punt is reading! Not sure he’d like much of it

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Careless words and all that… helping the enemy(coalition partner)…..Chris ought to be ashamed of himself.

    After an election, especially one that goes badly for a party, e.g. the Labour Party and the DUP, there are a couple of really dreadful political cliches that always emerge and can be used by a party as a holding postion until they decide what in fecks name they are going to do.

    Communication with the base, listening to the electorate and learning the lessons – are three such awful, meaningless examples.

    Regarding the DUPs base. According to Robbo, Deputy Dodsy and the Very Revend Ian Paisley, the reason the DUP signed up to the STA is because the Englezes threatened them with papal influence from the south. The implication of that is, like their base, they didnt really like it. But this is what leadership should be about, taking difficult decisions that are unpopular (with your base and elsewhere) and sticking to them.

    What the DUP need to do now is to show their ‘base’ that Stormo works and they will not be derailed by the TUV. That would be a communication with their base that would actually have some meaning.

  • Neil

    Have to kind of agree with Sammy there. The problem for the DUP obviously lies with the fact that they have changed, from what the TUV is now basically. They were basically a spoiler, and an effective one.

    People here will tend to vote for the most extreme option available, IMO, this is why SF retain a significant number of votes. They were always seen as the extreme end of Republican politics. The emergence of ONH or RIRA is almost equivalent to the emergence of the TUV; they are both groups who are trying to occupy the ground that was formerly occupied by their enemies. The TUV can take away the electorate that were lied to by the DUP back in the day (all the never, never, never stuff – Paisley was still giving that the message about two months before going into government).

    It would appear that we have all been lied to, but that is the nature of the beast. DUP voters can know that the thing that mattered most to the DUP was power, and SF voters can realise that SF’s priority is not a UI but SF itself.

  • Driftwood

    I actually agree with Sammy Mcnally, but would add that they (the DUP) followed the money.

    Gravy trains are easy to board and very hard to get off.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Shame that Diane Dodds couldn’t even have the good grace to shake hands with De brun which communicates very very badly.’

    It’s all about who hates SF the most.

    Pathetic indeed . Won’t do SF any harm after all they are ‘partners ‘ in government and the TUV are against ‘mandatory ‘ power sharing and for majority i.e unionist rule only .

    Anyway this ‘communication ‘ business means zilch to rank and file DUPers . No matter which way Robinson & Co package ‘power sharing ‘ with SF there is a large number of DUPers and TUVers who will never be reached as regards power sharing this side or the far side of a major civil war in Northern Ireland .

    Northern nationalists and Republicans know that .

    If ‘unionism ‘ were to unite under Allister then repartition may raise it’s head as a serious option for nationalists and republicans . The new Uber Unionist Fuhrer Allister will of course have to go through the requisite number of marches up and down the hills of Ulster like his DUP predecessor before ying down Unionism’s last orange card for the voters i.e goodbye to Fermanagh , Tyrone etc etc . The TUV have nothing to offer but the past and if that’s really what ‘unionism ‘ wants then I’m sure it will be supplied no doubt . I guess there are people out there who miss the worse parts of the last 40 years so much that they feel a need to relive them ?

    Who said we learn from history ? Not a bit of it .

  • nemesis

    Get a thread going on the pending DUP re-shuffle.

    keep up!

  • Seceder

    Two years ago I chatted with a senior DUP MLA basically asking him why the DUP accepted St Andrews – he couldn’t tell me. In fact he admitted that all the reasons he’d been given lead him to conclude that Trimble and Faulkner were probably right.

    THis is fairly typical of thinking in the DUP the grssroots don’t know why Robbo forced Paisley – or was it the other way round – into government with the Shinners.

    They have no belief in this power-sharing thing and most of the core – real – DUP just see snouts in troughs.

    if I’m right then the DUPS are in real trouble – without belief or convictions they can’t deliver anything and they will be paralysed by the TUV headlights.

    even a DUP reshuffle won’t help – all it will do is promote even more ineffective ministers, having rings run round them by the CIviil Service and Sinn Fein and Pobbo’s claim – there’s no alternative – will become increasu=ingly desparate.

    THis is basically the moment Sinn Fein has been waiting for, the moment when the DUPs retrack back to their core unreconstructed core anti agreement base, in doing so give the Shinners a stalemate – to resolved by a suspension of the institutions and direct rule is truly the only option, but a direct rule best suited to Sinn Fein.

  • Dave

    The problem that Robinson will find when he tries to emulate the success that the Shinners have had at brainwashing their supporters is that, unlike Gerry Adams, he is not the leader of a cult. You can lie to members of a cult with ease because you have conditioned them to accept your word as gospel and to disregard all contrasting words as securocrats MI5 stooges in the media the Great Satan. What is Robison going to do to get his party’s supporters to devolve P and J powers? Tell them that it is a means of “putting manners” on the police? I think not.

    Perhaps Robinson should accept that his message is wrong rather than claim that he hasn’t conveyed his message well enough. It could be that people have a valid point when they say that murderers should not be rewarded for murder and that it is those who claim otherwise who need to eximine their conscience and the worth of their politics with greater scrutiny.

  • Sliver

    The idea of unionists leading their electorates is rubbish. To unionists their politicians are their representatives, their employess. Everything that has happened can be explained thusly:

    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.

  • Chris Donnelly

    The last paragraph of your post (number 5) sums up precisely the point of my blog. Robinson might be using the last sentence out of context, but I should hardly be ashamed for articulating the case.

    It would appear with the talk of McCausland’s imminent promotion to the Executive that the DUP have set their course firmly in the direction I anticipated in the blog.

  • 6countyprod

    ‘Shame that Diane Dodds couldn’t even have the good grace to shake hands with De brun which communicates very very badly.’

    The action actually communicates very well. It might offend the sensitivities of some thin-skinned nationalists, but I think most unionists have no problem with it.

    I suppose it’s a lingering unionist habit harking back to the not-too-distant past when Ms de Brun’s comrades in arms were actually murdering unionist politicians, not wanting to shake their hands! Of course, Dr Paisley would not shake the hands of any of the Shinners. Don’t know what Peter’s policy is, though.

  • Greenflag

    Chris ,

    ‘that the DUP have set their course firmly in the direction I anticipated in the blog.’

    It’s not as if the DUP is awash with political talent is it ? One decent reshuffle and virtually all the playable cards will have their fat arses warmed in a ministerial chair ?

    It’s a problem for small assemblies generally not just Stormont . The democratic process and in particular that of NI tend to throw politicians into the ring who would never get past a Dail constituency party selection conference never mind Westminster ! This is also why their (Assembly’s) powers are strictly limited.

    The Robinson and Dodd’s dynasties have now replaced the Paisley dynasty. The prospects for an Allister dynasty may have improved ?

  • slug

    Difference between McCausland and Adams?

    McCauseland went to Oxford and read History.

    Adams went to Oxford Street and made it.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    excuses not accepted – 10 Hail Marys.