The DUP knocked to the canvas

A massive right hook was delivered by the TUV squarely on the DUP’s chin. It put the DUP on the electoral canvas so as it gets to its feet to receive its 8 count by the referee what should be going through its mind? NOTE: The following is written with hindsight at full value. Even on a worst case scenario I would have not believed a result like this possible (and managed to lose 100 notes as a result – serves me right for gambling). Post St Andrew’s and pre Jim Allister’s defection I argued that a new party couldn’t be created:

“A new political force cannot be created out of Bob McCartney allying with the likes of Jack McKee”

I was wrong – Jim Allister has created such a new force.

Unionist Parties and the Election Result

What do these results mean for the three Unionist parties?
DUP – The sheer scale of the Euro election result must be fully appreciated. In one election Jim Allister has achieved what it took the DUP 8 years and 4 elections to do. Comparable shifts are hard to find in Northern Ireland politics since the political turmoil of the early Troubles. 44% of the previous DUP vote was lost that is 9 in 20 voters. Every DUP Westminster seat is a marginal. Possible mitigations can be offered for this vote level but it was such similar thoughts that have led to the under-estimation of support for the TUV.
It would be an error for the DUP to blame turnout. Unionism maintained its overall position at just under 50% of the Euro vote so it was not the fundamental issue. The numbers also clearly show the electoral damage was exclusive to its right and there is no discernable ‘reward’ for the return of devolution.
UCUNF – For the UUP the Tory link has not cost them vote share but neither has it particularly gained them any. The internal divisions did not have a political cost this time. However by standing still it has managed to look good.
TUV – They have earned the name new force. It has established itself as a credible prospect to gain Westminster and Assembly seats. As it has received comparable levels of support in the two elections it contested it cannot be assumed the TUV vote is soft. The depth of opposition to power-sharing could very well be more widespread and deep-seated than most thought.

Unionism and the Election Result

Beyond the fortunes of the individual party were does this result leave Unionism?

The three way division creates a new set of electoral headaches. Unionism does need more than one party. Two competitive parties would be the best form. However, three parties with comparable levels of support allied with the personalised and often destructive nature of Unionist political discourse and First Past the Post is a potent mix. For the next year the Unionist electorate (consciously or unconsciously) has voted for its political young to eat one another.

How South Belfast and Fermanagh South Tyrone could be won again will not be the primary conversation. Instead, if this result were repeated and nationalist and other voters plumped Unionism could lose as many as 5 Westminster seats (Upper Bann, East Londonderry, South Antrim and North Belfast to Nationalism and East Belfast to Alliance). This is most definitely a worst case scenario with 2 probably vulnerable but there is an electoral precendent of significant losses on such a split. In the October 1974 general election a three way split between Conservatives, Labour and Liberals in Scotland enabled the SNP to gain seats.

On turnout, problems were shared between Unionism and Nationalism but that should not be any consolation. The principle of consent means the Union will stand or fall on its electoral performance. Consistent and deep-seated decline is very unhealthy in those circumstances. If the 2007 and 2009 elections are looked at together as well as non-registration rates, then in a significant proportion of areas that Unionism gets its votes from non-participation is the norm neither has any of the Unionist parties succeeded in attracting new voters.

Palestinians are said never to miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Unionists may have developed a similar complex. SF and its ‘project’ have stalled. Their vote in Northern Ireland went nowhere and Republic of Ireland went nowhere or declined. When they performed badly in the last Dail elections it was thought that an economic downturn could be a means for new momentum in the Republic. It hasn’t happened. However, Unionism internal problems will prevent it from truly capitalising on this.

Politics and the Election Result

There has been much comment about how this result shows a clear Unionist majority for power-sharing. However, it ignores the comparable argument on policing and justice powers. The TUV is opposed and the UUP has been moving to a more sceptical position neither were the DUP in any particular rush. The practical vetoes may still lie in DUP hands but whether it happens or not is now as much the UUP’s political decision.

How did the DUP find itself in this position?

Various issues and problems have been highlighted in previous blogs here, here and here. It was an outworking of the failure to prepare:

“During the consultation it became clear that the party had not engaged in sufficient preparation of the party membership or education of its electorate. The Hearts and Mind poll shows how 1 in 5 DUP voters is implacably opposed to power-sharing but opposition to St Andrews is at 3 in 10 and scepticism at over half. The failure to prepare has created a stick for their own back.”

Since then the DUP has not developed a narrative or found a new language to explain what it is doing or where it wants to take Unionism. In its defence it was legitimately absorbed in various tasks of government, but this has hampered its message. It has distracted it from engaging with the emotional intelligence of the Unionist community. In fact the DUP has not made a serious or sustained attempt to communicate with its base since St Andrew’s, probably because it hadn’t worked out what to say to them.

In the absence of the new it re-adopted old narratives of Smash Sinn Fein and Top the Poll. Alternative narratives flourished in the vacuum:

“The ‘chuckle brothers’ became a gateway to the most harmful alternative narrative of all, the ‘snouts in the trough’ narrative.”

At this election the expenses saga performed the same function.

The scale of the lead over the UUP in 05 and 07 led to complacency and worse, it perpetuated even encouraged the trait of arrogance in the DUP’s attitudes and actions.

The Campaign

In the campaign itself a number of issues arose. The campaign was primarily based on a negative reasoning to vote for the DUP. This negative reasoning did have a track record of success but it was going to crash and burn sometime and 09 was the year it did.

There were too many different straplines that didn’t combine as a broad strategic message. This came across as a mixed and unclear message. For example, it mentioned the Unionist agenda. Is there one? What is it? Does the average Unionist know what it is? If they don’t how will they know whether it is being advanced or not? Is it relevant to them? Is it simply stopping Sinn Fein? If it is, why is that good enough?

This confusion added to the difficulty the electorate has understanding the complex politics of Stormont’s consociational structures. Are the DUP working with Sinn Fein or fighting with them? Our political structures as they work in practice mean both things are true at the same time. However a significant section of the DUP’s electorate are used to zero sum and finds this ‘quantum state’ difficult to comprehend.

As politics is a blood-sport there will be many who will gladly be lining up to stick the boot into the candidate. I don’t believe the campaign or performances were a true reflection of the candidate. It needs to be acknowledged that Diane Dodds had the cojones to take the nomination when others shied away. Also events and poor planning contributed to the problems with the Dodds candidacy

At the time of selection family dynasties didn’t seem a major issue, expenses certainly made it one. At the time of selection a dispassionate observer would have said she required a voice coach and media training, she didn’t get it. As she was part of the Belfast political bubble it was assumed too much that the electorate knew her, they didn’t and a regional tour targeted at local newspapers didn’t overcome this.

If the campaign didn’t succeed in properly introducing her, then for many the first introduction was the Politics Show Debate which was, by common agreement, a car crash and this over-shadowed all other campaign interviews and debates. As regards the core campaign messages Diane Dodds hammered them home relentlessly, the delivery wasn’t the core problem. The core problem was the message was neither resonating nor being listened to.

This core message was also delivered in a forumalic manner. The style and campaign approach of the Euro election was pretty much the same as the 07, 05, 04 and 03 elections. The main campaign slogan didn’t have a verb to communicate action. Overall it looked tired.

The campaign also did not respond quickly and sufficiently to events that undermined basic tenets of strategy. The ongoing expenses stories were the most obvious with the response proving too defensive then too slow and ultimately insufficient to address concerns or anger.

Additionally the economic downturn makes it extremely difficult to sell to voters that devolution is delivering. The gains of devolution are too generic rather than ‘Unionist’, difficult for one party to claim and lean towards stopping bad things happening e.g. water rates. Also the DUP has tried to remove the bedrock of its support from the Paisley brand to the collective brands of its MPs. The first DUP Euro election broadcast was a good example of this approach. The expenses saga made it the worst possible time to try to be doing this as MPs collectively and individually took a battering.

The disconnect with voters caused by the deeper seated problems and campaign issues exemplify how the DUP has not made the transformation from being a party of opposition to one of leadership and government. It also needs to be accepted that the staff team cannot be scape-goated for these issues. They have been left with little strategic direction too often and did their best to fill the vacuum.

What next for the DUP?

It needs to realise and then understand the scale of its task in the coming year and beyond. Quitting the Executive is not an option. They have made their decision neither is it in Unionism’s strategic interests. That excepted however, anything else should be up for discussion. Even if an issue involves a prominent personality that it should be no protection from scrutiny .

It needs to spend time listening to its voters. This blog and many others can provide a number of reasons for the result but the word of the political class shouldn’t be taken as the right word. First off the DUP needs to ask voters, why they didn’t vote? Why did they vote for the TUV or UCUNF? What are the DUP doing wrong? Do people want devolution or direct rule? It must simply listen at this stage not offer answers. After examining this feedback it must talk to people about possible remedies to see if they are sufficient and acceptable and challenge misconceptions. Then it should act and communicate repeatedly about how it has acted.

There also need to be cultural changes in the DUP. It needs to broaden out party structures so that more ordinary members hold office rather than politicians. It also needs to learn to cope with well-intended criticism even encouraging them in new forms such as blogging. It also has to adapt its headquarters and other structures to being a party of government.

The DUP needs to say sorry for its handling of the introduction of devolution, the disconnect that followed and for expenses. It must show contrition repeatedly. It must then act. The narrative that must be killed – at all costs – is the self-interest narrative.

Some or all of the following things should be considered to demonstrate that self-interest is not the motivating factor. Previously DUP ministers did not take their ministerial salaries and assembly office bearers (vice-chairs, chairs) only received half. This continued in the new Assembly but in a reduced form. The original policy should be reintroduced. The majority of MPs who are MLAs should stand down from the Assembly in the coming months. Any who remain should not take their MLA’s salary. MPs should consider paying back the food expenses.

Then it needs to unveil its new narrative with a strong communications plan that embraces new approaches. They cannot afford to rely on the mainstream media, press statements and speeches. For Westminster 2010 the model should be the UUP campaign of 1983. The UUP had to arrest the growth in the DUP and it did so by taking political risks. The DUP took a cautious approach and suffered for it.

If the DUP fails to embrace radical change it will fall. Internal and personal interests will push against some of this and no doubt some will threaten or actually defect claiming ‘principle’ as the rationale. However it has an over-riding responsibility to the cause of Unionism in this part of the Kingdom so it must make radical changes. Unionism here cannot afford returning to the do anything approach of the UUP or the do nothing approach of the TUV.

(Thanks to M & D for comments on earlier drafts).

  • Frustrated democrat

    I have commented elsewhere on this topic # 19 http://sluggerotoole.com/index.php/weblog/comments/hearts-and-minds-a-changing-tone-in-unionism/ the gist is, do the DUP have any relevance in future as they represent the UUP prior to 2000 and there is now little or no difference in their policies and those of the CU. The difference being the CU can offer national politics and can reach an much wider voter base when they move onto Westminster which is their ideal election arena whereas the EU’s were not.

    The extremes of unionism are represented by the TUV the pro UK voters of all persuasions by the CU, where is the place for the DUP in the middle, is it unionist non extreme protestants?

    Time will tell.

  • Belfastman

    DUP humiliated as Sinn Fein tops Euro poll
    June 11, 2009 11:55 pm admin frontpage, news
    by John Coulter

    Northern Ireland’s main Unionist party, the Democratic Unionists, endured a humiliating electoral disaster in the battle for the province’s three MEPs. For 30 years, the DUP had always topped the poll ahead of its bitter rivals the Ulster Unionists.

    But while the three-way split in the pro-union vote meant that Sinn Fein, the DUP’s power-sharing partner at Stormont, topped the poll, it was a bittersweet victory for republicans. In the Republic, Sinn Fein’s deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald lost the party’s sole seat in the European Parliament.

    Typically ironic of Irish politics, the real victory in Northern Ireland went to the outgoing MEP who lost his seat – Jim Allister of the hardline anti-power sharing Traditional Unionist Voice movement. Originally elected as a poll-topper in 2004, Allister quit the DUP in protest at power sharing. His decision to run again as TUV ensured that the new Ulster Unionist/Conservative alliance was elected within the quota and ahead of the DUP.

    Veteran Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson’s victory was the first electoral success for the pact with the Tories. Known officially as the Ulster Conservative and Unionist New Force, a David Cameron victory at the next general election could see any UUP MPs or peers take a position in a Tory cabinet.

    The SDLP failed to win back its seat from Sinn Fein, prompting more talk of a merger with a party from the Irish Republic – either the election-battered Fianna Fail or Fine Gael.

    But it is the long-term ramifications for power sharing which will give the DUP/Sinn Fein government at Stormont the biggest nightmare. If Mr Allister’s TUV repeats its success at the next Assembly poll in 2010 – even on a 43 per cent turnout – the hardline right-wing movement will end up with 15 seats, holding the balance of power among the parliament’s 108 MLAs.
    http://www.tribunemagazine.co.uk/2009/06/11/dup-humiliated-as-sinn-fein-tops-euro-poll/

  • willis

    Fair Deal

    I wonder if the DUP would have been any worse off if they had defined the message first and then went looking for a candidate.

    If they had said

    “We are a party that believes in devolution. We also believe that the best check on Sinn Fein and the IRA is to have them in politics and on ceasefire.

    If you don’t like the politics of compromise vote TUV. We know we are going to take a huge hit but we have a responsibility to seek the best for NI and we believe what we have negotiated is it.”

    They would come away from this with pride.

    It wouldn’t have made any difference to my vote though.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    A large majority of Unionists voted for pro-agreement parties and the DUP may* have underestimated the strength of the TUV. Things could have been much much worse if the 3rd seatr went elsewhere.

    re. “It needs to spend time listening to its voters” this is the most awful political cliche – what it actually means is – spend time listening to the people who are NOT your voters – ie those that have gone elsewhere.

    But the DUP now needs to hold their nerve – and continue to show leadership. They simply cannot be taken seriously now as an anti-agreement party and any attempt to backtrack will inevitably lead to SF pulling the plug. If that happened they would have to fight on the same anti-agreement platform as the TUV – with the latter having all the credibility on that stance.

    *perhaps the more appropriate candidates saw the TUV train coming.

  • fin

    ineresting point regarding MPs, current split is 8 to 10, a 2 seat shift to nationalists gives them the majority representation. Does it?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    fin,

    as most of our guys dont show over at the quare-place I dont think it really matters, its the Assembly that would really worry Unionists where seats do win prizes.

  • One less reason to read Slugger I’m afraid.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Ach now Stuck-record Sammy, though you’re still a reliable laugh o’ minute, the plastic’s poking through more than ever. I mean, c’mon – “any attempt to backtrack will inevitably lead to SF pulling the plug”! You spent all of last year slabbering that P&J would be devolved *by last year*, otherwise Sinn Five would ‘pull down’ the Executive: http://sluggerotoole.com/index.php/weblog/comments/its-an-ex-stadium-plan-for-maze/P50/ – and whadya know, total, patented Stuck-record BS as usual. Of course you were also the King o’ Komedy Slabber who told us that the TUV wouldn’t get even 20K in these elections. But there’s more! there’s more! for as you liked to tell it, Murderous McMarty would – and how we laughed – disobey his Brit paymasters and pull Sinn Five out of the Executive if the Bobbybowl and Provo shrine weren’t built (and in the process deny the Huns their soccer wonga). But whadya know, the Bowbybowl and shrine were nixed, the huns got their lolly, and good ole Sinn Five stayed tamely right were they were. It’s almost as if you, Stuck-Record, know diddly-squat. Yet not even all of dat can possibly compete with your commic classic, yer very own Dead Parrot, the monopost. You know, dat one about how ‘da Brits’ couldn’t do nuffink anymore, but mysteriously, unaccountably now can (but ‘pluze soir, oh pluze soir, don’t do dem terrible tings’)? Keep on slabberin’ Stuck-record, but more than anything else, have the wit to keep on running.

    An excellent analysis from FD: I shan’t be (too) smug and point out that a very few of us did predict pretty much all of this debacle, to every last gruesome detail, *before* it happened, and far be it for me to say, ahem, that that should in any way privilege our, ahem, suggestions. Though it should. And we’ll, ahem, repeat them in due course, here and elsewhere.

  • nemesis

    Answer this – is Peter Robinson Unionism’s new Trimble?

    Jim Allister’s vote is not a one-off. 70,000 votes is one hell of a vote of confidence for a so-called ‘fringe Party’.

    The DUP would be well advised to stop attacking the UUP and start mending fences…..otherwise the already cordial UUP/TUV alliance will destroy the DUP from both sides.

  • fin

    Hi Sammy, I know, although thats less a political statement as opposed to arsing arounf watching Richard and Judy, I wouldn’t expect it happen but a century along it would be a lovely 1st Dail moment all over again, leaving NI in the weird place of unionism demanding a border poll.

    LTU, I think you possibly made your point (for what its worth) some weeks ago regarding Sammy. Sammy and I don’t always/often agree however as with many others on Slugger I enjoy crossing swords with him and getting his and others views and trying to project what will happen in the future. None of us have a crystal ball (including you) your ranting in the past was just ranting as it is now, is there any chance that you’ll stop playing the man and actually start contributing

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    How will such an ‘alliance’, de facto or otherwise, ‘destroy’ the DUP from the UUP side? The UUP made zero impact on the DUP. Zero. In an election where every single thing went the anti-DUP-unionist’s way, of the two anti-DUP-unionist parties running, one gained massively, the other not at all: that other one stayed exactly at the bottom of the hole it long ago marched into. So what exactly is the UUP’s strategy that serves the best interests of unionism as a whole? Is it to behave *exactly* the way we rightly chuntered for decades at the DUP for behaving? Are we simply going to gurn with delight every time the DUP takes a sickner, even if it hasn’t happened because of anything we have done ourselves, still less, does said sickner in any way credibly serve our immediate purposes (we’re meant to be a pro-Agreement party remmeber . . . ), and even less still does it actually advance Unionism tout court.

    I’m all for laughing at the DUP, but I remain as puzzled as ever about what exactly the point of Reggite Ulster Unionism actually is? Place holder for the London? In which case, is it simply baby steps that the Pact purposely *excludes* Stormont, where the actual political traction now occurs? And if, in Reg’s wildest dreams, we manage, solely and totally c/o Jim Allister’s intervention, to pick up one or two Westminster seats we otherwise stood no chance of winning in our own right, what then? Is taking the ‘bue-on-blue’ collateral damage that a three-way split will inevitably bring during a First Past the Post campaign okay, fine, dandy? Currently, in as much as you can discern a coherent line from Reg’s merry little band, the damage Unionism-as-a-whole will suffer in such a Westminster poll is just something we’re all expected to take purely because it’ll mean a few short term localised gains for us in the UUP – I mean that is it, isn’t it? Or would anyone from what’s left of the Head Shed like to put me right? Can we see that arriving at a result where the majority of NI seats in the Commons are *not* represented by Unionists might not be the ideal pro-Union outcome? And answers come there none, because there aren’t any.

    The tragedy of the modern UUP is exactly that it has long since dwindled to being the worst of the old DUP, without its limited virtues of tenacity and concentrated effort. All we amount to now is a miniscule grouplet full of bitter men gloating when the Punt takes a hit, and screw the wider unionist consequences. And to that end, there seemingly is no fool thing we won’t do. Very, very depressing. Thank God the initiative in all this lies with Allister, as you couldn’t trust the UUP to competently lick a stamp.

  • Seceder

    A fairly open and honest assessment – Fair Deal.

    What I’m interested in is do you think some of the personalities in this election and toubled time can survive?

    Robo for instance – seen by many as arrogance, aloof and now incredibly wealthy, shuld his leadership survive?

    even Deputy Dodsy now seems fairly tainted and this will only grow as more public money pours into the hands of thefamily – irrespective of how hard working etc they are.

    THe DUP has a real problem that all their high profile members are so high profile with little depth behind them –

    Personally I believe the DUP willl struggle to change their narrative and could be on a perpetual slide – I was once told if your voters or party don’t back you by 80% then you are finished. Initially David Trimble had the support of only 71% of his party in backing the Belfast Agreement, and the theory goes even from then he was finished.

    For Robbo the situation is more stark – he has less than 60% of his party at the outset so following the logic – he is finished!

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Nah Fin, super-sweet as it is for you to stick up for your mate, your partisanship has sadly got the better of you. For as I’ve repeatedly shown, and Stuck-record has repeatedly run away from, one of us was indeed ranting and spewing and spoofing and slabbering [see Bawbybowl, nixed; Sinn Five, pulled out of government; IFA, denied funds; British sovereignty, supposed lack thereof; TUV, lack of support; Policing & Justice, devolved no latter than 2008, etc, etc], while the other was, well, he was simply trying to say what he thought.

    And that’s the great beauty of the internet – when you’ve got a fraud like Stuck-record on the loose, you can call him on it. When you’ve got someone who, far from engaging, simply reiterates Repubplican comfort posts, time after time after time, regardless of how well they actually stand up to subsequent scrutiny, the entirely appropriate thing to do is to laugh at him, loudly, pointedly and with great pleasure. Stuck-record *could* of course remedy all this by simply addressing the points at hand – that when, for example, he repeats his dire old tricks of guffing ‘jibber jabber’ like ‘any attempt to backtrack will inevitably lead to SF pulling the plug’, he’s just engaging in pretty shopworn fibbing. He’s tried all this cr*p already, it wasn’t honest, let alone accurate in earlier years, and it isn’t now. He of course deserves to be called on a routine like that. But as I say, were he to front up and admit, ‘yeah, I tried it on’, let alone, ‘well here’s were, and why, I was sincerely [sic] wrong, as the facts have inescapably shown me to be … [Sinn Five’s pulling the plug on the Executive passim]’, well that would be progress of sort. But as you’ll have noticed, he keeps on running away. If you can’t see quite why he does that with such alacrity, that, I suppose, speaks volumes about your blissful tribal solidarity, but it doesn’t say a whole lot else. Much like Sammy when you tweak his nose, his oh so long Pinocchian nose.

  • fair_deal

    Seceder

    “What I’m interested in is do you think some of the personalities in this election and troubled time can survive?”

    As I say in my piece
    “…anything else should be up for discussion. Even if an issue involves a prominent personality that it should be no protection from scrutiny.”
    “There also need to be cultural changes in the DUP.”

    Personally I believe that message and how it is delivered is more important than the personalities and thus don’t buy into the regicide arguments.

    Also how it is delivered will require changes in media styles and approaches.

    It’s probably best summed up by the simple rule that what got you there won’t keep you there so you have to adapt. If you don’t you fall.

    “Personally I believe the DUP will struggle to change their narrative”

    They certainly have so far.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Fair Deal

    It will be a tragedy if this is indeed your last post, but if so, then thanks for making it a good ‘un.

    From an outsiders perspective, the biggest problem in the DUP campaign (apart from the candidate – now I know why the party tried to keep her off the airwaves!) was the internal contradiction in the main message. It is difficult to argue that Sinn Fein is the big enemy while sharing power with them.

    I think the voters saw through that, though there were, as you say, other factors. I also wonder how effective such a negative message played with voters who are looking for delivery, rather than stalemate. For example, it’s all very well for the DUP to crow about stopping Ruane in her tracks over the transfer test, but what we have instead is a mess. Some gain!

    The DUP now has a choice. It can do a Trimble and spend the next few years looking over its shoulder at the more extreme party behind it, or it can get on with the business of delivering good, accountable government. That means looking at how it can achieve real benefits to the public, which means – as it shares power with SF – looking how it can address political issues in terms of ‘mutual benefit’ rather than ‘mutual veto’, which often leaves us with nothing of value.

  • Fair Deal,

    On Policing and Justice,

    “The practical vetoes may still lie in DUP hands but whether it happens or not is now as much the UUP’s political decision”

    Why do you say that?

  • David Vance

    Gonzo,

    I hope the DUP take our advice as it will surely accelerate the decline of the Dupes.

    Interesting the way some here refer to the TUV as “extreme”. In the same sense as IRA godfathers in power are “moderate”?

  • Believe it or not, I agree David. Or at least with the proposition that the TUV are ‘extreme’. Everyone it seems who signs into this agreement on the Unionist side makes the same mistake of believing it is a cast iron Calvinistic promise that it is THE settlement.

    The Trouble is the stand still at Stormont just proves to the sceptics that it’s not working. Last night’s performance by Allister made it plain to me that his party would go into institutions with SF, but not into government with them.

    He doesn’t as Nelson put it, want a hand on the steering wheel. If SF get the majority, he simply wants the right to pelt the car.

  • Observer

    Boy does the DUP need to take an away day/week to regroup. They are running round like headless chickens and all their elected members seem to have their own ideas what Robbo meant by reconnecting with their electorate. Its not, as some think, a reflection of their work on the ground but much more about their whole game plan. If this was a game of snakes and ladders they have landed on a very big snake and slide to the bottom of the board. If they keep rolling the dice wrongly then they will keep landing on snakes of various sizes and sliding down again.

    What is wrong with everyone connected with the DUP just conceding it was one hell of a bad result. Stop trying to spin your way out of it!! Nelson McCausland was the latest example of this spin on Hearts and Minds last night. Its no point trying to point score off Jim Alister or the TUV. They have the high moral ground in that side of Unionism. What people couldn’t understand about the DUP was how their elected people were running around fighting about equality laws and flag flying and generally singing Kick The Pope they all became, overnight, neutered tom cats that probably would have qualified to join the Alliance Party. Their election campaign seemed to be about out postering everyone else but the Northern Ireland electorate have become a little bit more mature and images of Union Flags on Posters hanging from lamp posts just doesn’t cut it any more.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Because, Seymour, whereas before the DUP, with it’s near 2:1 ascendancy over the broken, demoralised, going-nowhere UUP could afford to ignore it, it now can’t. Whereas before, whatever the DUP proposed, it could itself – because of its ascendancy – also dispose of, it now can’t. And whereas on the Nationalist side of our wretched (thanks Alliance!) consociational arrangements, the situation remains just the same (thanks to the SDLP’s ongoing pitiful state), with SF still occupying the same position the DUP used to occupy (total intra-communual political ascendancy), Unionism, in the short term, no longer has such a ‘champion’. This, natch, is the cause of great cheering inside the UUP: as I’ve already wondered on this thread, it’s a puzzling state of affairs. But Seymour that’s the thing, the very point FD was making: now that the DUP can’t any more go it alone, going anywhere requires the UUP to step up and take some actual sodding responsibility for leading Unionism. Remind me again what specifically that’s likely to amount to? Delivery of, uh? Achievement of, er? Realisation of, ahhhh? In truth the total absence of policy specifics from the UUP (where we might supposedly differ, either in practice or even in principle from the DUP) as to what we might do differently is as glaring after the election as it was before and during.

    Now, effectively, that Unionism-as-a-whole needs either a.) Reg to lay hands on the Punt; b.) the Punt to lay hands on Allister; or c.) Allister and Empey somehow to lay hands on each other, can anyone, UUP or not, really tell me what the UUP would want to do with such responsibility were it to come its way? I know full well what they’re actually going to do: run away from it as fast as they can (and certainly keep running until at least the General Election is safely, literally irresponsibly out of the way), but let’s say there was even a shred of leadership-capacity left, what would we do? What exactly to we want to do that is different from what the DUP are already doing? Agree with Sinn Five more, or less? Agree with the government more, or less? Desire to change the system, in a way meaningfully different from the DUP’s desire to change the system? I could go on, but there’s absolutely no point as there’s not even a single credible UUP response in the offing. We neither want genuine responsibility, nor would we know what to do with it were we lumped with it.

    I think the crisis is slightly over-stated for the Punt, and that the Euros served here as they do on the mainland (the base shooting across the bows of their true party, pace UKIP support viz Tory support: and a sane leadership can therefore tack accordingly), but if things really were as dire as the paif UUP numpties here affect to believe they are, he should throw the whole thing in and say to us, ‘okay, here, you sort it out’. Reg would need to knit himself iron underpants.

  • ex Dup voter

    As someone who did in the past support the Dup there is no way that I will ever vote for them again. They have lost me and many of my family and friends for good! People are totally disgusted by what they did.

    I did not vote for them at the last assembly election for I realised then what they were going to do. This time I voted for Jim Allister and gave second preference to Jim Nicholson. That will be how I will vote come the general election and the next assembly election – TUV – UUP. [I know I only can place a ‘x’ for westminster]

    There is something even worse than Sinn Fein topping the poll in an European election and that is unrepentant murderers sitting in government sustained there by the Dup.

    It is the lies of the DUP that is most galling. They lambasted Trimble from pillar to post around this province for what he did and when they had destroyed him politically they went and did something much worse. At least Trimble joined with the SDLP as joint first minister and not with someone like McGuinness.

    From among my circle of acquaintances, and I would know a lot of people connected with the DUP over the years, there is real annoyance. People have been ‘outright angry’ at what they did and that is not too strong a term to describe feelings that exist. I know former DUP people who cheered when Dodds trailed in third. I did so myself!

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Shurely the worst UUP trolling of the year thus far?

  • CS Parnell

    What do I care about Unionism?

    But it strikes me that now would be the moment for a unionist programme of vision.

    I would say a strong unionist programme would be this:

    a) Reclaim Irishness. Unionists are as Irish as anyone else, they just had and have a different view about what is the best way for Ireland/Northern Ireland to develop. Love the shamrock, it’s yours.

    b) Grow up about the Taigs. They haven’t gone away you know. Set out your proposals – practical and sensible ones – for an Irish Language Act and for P&J. Do the same for flags and emblems and all the other things. There is nothing to be afraid of.

    c) Call the Shinners bluff. Tell them government is about compromise and they can agree to the compromise or there will be no government. If they won’t agree just say – ok, that’s it. The war is over and Gerry and co have no going back.

    d) Have some sort of economic narrative about the North – do you want a British economy with strong public services and higher tax or do you want an Irish economy with low taxes and rubbish public services? You can have one or the other, don’t kid yourself that any UK treasury will let you have both.

  • Greenflag

    Fair Deal ,

    It’s been a long time since have I read such an honest cogent post election analysis of a political party on slugger .

    A couple of points

    ‘Additionally the economic downturn makes it extremely difficult to sell to voters that devolution is delivering.’

    The same ‘economic downturn’ is what led to massive losses by the UK Labour Party and the Republic’s FF. To an extent the DUP suffered also from this trend . The fact that SF suffered to a lesser extent is testimony to the clear division between the SDLP and SF on issues whereas the divisions between the DUP/TUV/UUP are largely personality based and on the degree to which each of them hates /fears/disdains SF in government.

    Another point -Over half the electorate from both communities did not bother to vote . I suspect that when the choice arises -if it arises in an Assembly election between voting for parties which are bent on collapsing the Assembly or keeping it going ‘wiser’ heads may prevail on the Union side . This will not just be due to their local political predicament in NI but will also be made in the light of the upcoming across the board ‘cuts ‘ in NI public spending which will be the Conservative’s response to the major fiscal problems being faced by Westminster . UCUNF or no UCUNF.

    The problem facing the TUV will be the same as that faced by the DUP . Yes you can build a political structure based on ‘hatred’ or non recognition of a political opponent for a while . But eventually it catches up with when political realities have to faced and the ‘hated foe’ now has equal access to the power of government no matter how limited . Perception in these cases is more important than the mundane reality .

    So far the TUV haven’t had to face those realities and it still looks like some in the DUP haven’t either e.g MEP Dodds among others.

    As there’s a general election on the way soon – I hope you stay on board slugger for at least that duration as your analysis would be missed . Unless of course you are going forward as a candidate in which case if you can’t have my vote (I don’t have one )you’ll at least have my best wishes 😉

  • GavBelfast

    A lot of good sense in CS Parnell’s contribution above, in my view.

  • OC

    CS Parnell: Whilst I agree with much of what you say, the Devil, of course, is always in the details.

    For NI unionism, the task should be to make a UI irrelevant for self-identifying Irish culturalists, and a safe environment for RCs.

    Conversely, those in NI wishing for a UI, their task is to make NI British culturalists enthusiatic towards a UI.

    In other words, both sides should be trying to “out-nice” each other. And may the nicest side win!

    You mention compromise. Why a not a gentlemen’s agreement: OO marches rerouted around RC areas, and NI nationalists find a different flag than the RoI tricolour to represent their cultural feeling?

  • fair_deal

    SM

    LTU has answered your question

    GF

    “The same ‘economic downturn’ is what led to massive losses by the UK Labour Party and the Republic’s FF. To an extent the DUP suffered also from this trend.”

    I would wonder to what ext.ent NI voters think in such ‘normal’ terms.

    “I suspect that when the choice arises -if it arises in an Assembly election between voting for parties which are bent on collapsing the Assembly or keeping it going ‘wiser’ heads may prevail on the Union side .”

    I would not necessarily dismiss this notion. However, I would point out that there is little electoral evidence on the Unionist side for people beahving in such a manner in the last decade.

    “As there’s a general election on the way soon – I hope you stay on board slugger for at least that duration as your analysis would be missed .”

    I’ll still wander about the comments now and again but not blog.

    “Unless of course you are going forward as a candidate in which case if you can’t have my vote”

    ROFLMAO the aim for the DUP is to increase its vote not lose more.

  • CS Parnell

    OC,

    well I think nationalists will always have a flag that represents their view of themselves and that will always be the Irish tricolour. I think the sensible thing unionists can offer is for that to be flown more often but not in a more prestigious position than the flag of the state (the UJ).

    I also think they should consider developing a civil flag for NI *institutions* (not for Northern Ireland – that is a non-starter for nationalists) that has the maximum degree of acceptibility.

    My essential point is one of attitude. The unionist side of the argument has won in the sense that all but a handful have accepted the principle of consent. Does anyone really think that because Babs Brown topped the poll last week that we are any closer to a united Ireland? Of course not. So why the hysteria about that if it isn’t a crude sectarian headcountism?

    I know the devil is in the detail, as a nationalist I think the nationalist side, in general, has not even begun to ask itself the really tough questions it needs to face up to about a united Ireland – for instance I think a constition that privileges a language that a substantial minority have no stake in over a langauage that all but a few natives (a tiny number of children in Conemara) speak is just a non-starter (which doesn’t make me anti-Irish language, just makes me think this needs to move from a level of theology to one of practicality).

  • fin

    CS, is that really a tough question when the subject is a united Ireland, I can really see entrance requirements for the Civil Service been a deal breaker.

    I think the reason why although what you guys are saying about a ‘shared space’ is noble and right, unionism is on a sticky wicket, nationalists and particularily republicans have already started that, you can’t have missed it as enough unionist politicans and posters here have crowed for several years about what republicans have given up, entering Stormont, accepting British rule, acceoting consent over armed struggle. Unionism has given ground also, however, this is denied, covered up etc. for example cross-border bodies, equality, the right to be Irish and so on. How can unionist politicans change their narrative? it would amount to an admission od lying and defeat. Possibly the only why out of the impasse is for a unionist party who haven’t gotten their hands dirty denying all that unionism has concede to come to the fore, could that be UCUNF?

  • CS Parnell

    fin,

    I’m not sure what your point is, but Unionists can change because they have won. At least in the sense nobody is trying to bomb them into unity/exile.

    On your first paragraph I think in Irish nationalist/republican theology the privileged status of the Irish language is a very big deal. If 1916 was about one thing above all others it was about the Irish language.

    Again, it is an attitudal thing. If you are prepared to recognise that in a future Irish state English will the first national language because it is the one all of us speak and have a stake in, then you have crossed a wide rubicon.

  • Driftwood

    the right to be Irish and so on

    fin
    A lot of unionists already feel like that. Most still say ‘Northern Irish’ and that’s fine.
    I just found on the mainland, describing myself as ‘Northern Irish’ often led to exasperating explanations and perplexed discussions.

  • OC

    Parnell: I misspoke (as it were) and should have written, “NI Gaelic culturalists find a different flag than the RoI tricolour to represent their cultural feeling…” Though this mightn’t affect your response.

    Here in the States, another tricolour has led to unintended consequences: The Mexican Flag.

    At pro-amnesty-for-illegal-aliens rallies, the Mexcan flag was ubiquitous. Do you think this aroused sympathy for their cause amoungst US citisens, or something all together antithetical? Even rally organisers asked that the Mexican flags not be waved at future rallies.

    The Mexican flag has political implications, as an irredentist movement wants to take back the American Southwest for Mexico.

    Almost century ago, a similiar movement led to a small scale civil war along the US-Mexican border, following a blueprint that was known as the “Plan de San Diego”, in which “There would be a no-quarter race war, with summary execution of all white males over the age of sixteen.”

    http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/PP/ngp4.html

  • fin

    “I’m not sure what your point is, but Unionists can change because they have won. At least in the sense nobody is trying to bomb them into unity/exile.”

    Thats the point really, unionists to date have rather claim victory than having compromised, lets not get granular but police reform equality, powersharing, cross-border bodies, the prospect of joint authority if Stormont fails, was London on behave of unionism giving to nationalists, yet unionists hide their generosity to allow them to claim victory, if unionism has won way are we posting on this thread, why is the DUP still banging on about smashing Sinn Fein.

    With regards the bombing into exile dig, I understand that the movement of nationalists South of the border during the pogroms was the largest movement of refugees in Europe since the 2nd world war, only recently surpassed by Kosovo, so possibly its a greater victory for nationalists as the only fire in their homes these days is the coal one in the front room.

    Regarding making English the first language, I think my attitude (and that of many others) is go for it, I wasn’t concerned about articles 2 and 3 been changed for the GFA simply because those things only exist on paper and are not enforced by the government. If its that easy or if it helps lets make ulster-scots the first language, who will notice who will care

  • fin

    “If 1916 was about one thing above all others it was about the Irish language.”

    Sorry CS, I just spotted this comment in your post. Are you mad, 1916 was about independence

  • OC

    Posted by fin on Jun 12, 2009 @ 04:20 PM, quo he:

    “2 and 3 been changed for the GFA simply because those things only exist on paper and are not enforced by the government.”

    But were obviously the justification of the franc-tireur of the PIRA until the GFA.

  • fin

    OC you’ve introduced me to a new term, thankfully Google exists for the likes of me. I’m not sure you are using it in context.

    To be granular, the republican movements justification is always drawn from the 1st Dail. They would hardly refer to a ‘Free State’ document.

    However, as I said about articles 2&3 and whatever language you want in pole poition, its rubbish unless it exists outside the document, the PIRA came into being when nationalist areas where been burnt as the police watched on, and the OIRA where been teased with slogans of ‘IRA-I Ran Away’

    Life is a lot simpler than people think

  • OC

    The term franc-tireur was used during WWI to describe Belgian gun club members who took it upon themselves to attack the German invaders.

    I’ve seen the term used, in French, meaning “sniper”.

    But “tireur” had/has the meaning of “drawer of a cheque”, or “payer” – as in, “The person making a payment to a payee”.

    And “franc-tireur” is also used to mean a “freelancer”. That is, “Free of a payer”. Or, free of any government control.

    A similiar term in WWII was “partisan”.

    The Geneva Convention uses the term “unlawful combatant” – not properly a POW, nor merely a civilian.

    I recall that the RoI government went to the Irish Army regarding the invasion of NI during the early days of the Troubles, but were told that it wasn’t possible. Haughey then allegedly sent arms to the PIRA. Regardless, PIRA took it upon itself to enforce the RoI constitution, which document presumed lawful sovereignty over NI.

    Since the GFA, the “war” is over. Or should be.

  • Mick,

    Yes, I agree. The inability of the Assembly to deliver is indeed a key factor. From where I stand, the sclerotic Assembly does play into the TUV hands but that is because the architecture of the institutions is essentially dysfunctional. The argument to end mandatory power sharing is overwhelming and it will bury the chisellers in the DUP. As evidence of this check out poor Nelson McCausland’s atrocious performance on H&M.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    David Vance,

    With the territory to their right already taken the DUP can now push ahead and seek agreement with SF – the “sclerotic” Assembly is designed just so deliberately, because of the prolonged tribal conflict – how quickly people either forget this or simply pedal their arguements of convienence to wrap their distaste for SF up in intellectual jibber-jabber.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Sammy,

    But the DUP now needs to hold their nerve – and continue to show leadership. They simply cannot be taken seriously now as an anti-agreement party and any attempt to backtrack will inevitably lead to SF pulling the plug. If that happened they would have to fight on the same anti-agreement platform as the TUV – with the latter having all the credibility on that stance.

    Sammy, I hate to agree with that pompous twat up there, but I’m afraid he’s right; this repeated contribution of yours is a work of self delusion.

    If SF walk out of the executive it may or may not collapse (it probably will). So what ? The DUP won’t take the blame, and by powersharing coming to an end, Jim Allister’s reason for existence ends with it. It solves a lot of problems for the DUP in one go. SF pulling the plug does not scare anybody. It’s like the Spanish Inquisition threatening people with the biscuits and the comfy chair.

    The problem that Jim Allister’s preferred solution doesn’t solve is what the British government decide to do next. I don’t think it will be joint authority, at least not in the formal, fully-blown sense, but whatever it is, it will not be good for anybody in Northern Ireland. The British are not going to feel motivated to clean up after us anymore, why should they help us if we won’t get our act together and agree a way forward ? The Irish government don’t have the money or time to help either.

    Sinn Fein are therefore in a difficult position. If they want to save the institutions and the executive, probably the best thing they can do is agree to leave the executive and go into opposition. Any other way, and either the TUV or DUP (or both) will get their way.

    I’d remind the unionist posters, including Mr Vance, that the mandate to end power sharing currently stands at 14%. The mandate to maintain it, or at least which is not substantially opposed to it, stands at 86%. It’s a weird world you guys live in where 86% is not a sufficient percentage to show support for something in a democracy.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    CS,

    RE. If SF walk out of the executive it may or may not collapse (it probably will). So what ? The DUP won’t take the blame, and by powersharing coming to an end, Jim Allister’s reason for existence ends with it. It solves a lot of problems for the DUP in one go.

    In the event of a collapse caused by the DUP not doing what EVERYBODY* bar themselves think should be done i.e. keeping the ‘process’ of Implementing Police and Justcie going – a process that DUP immediately agreed to get under way after SF lifted their block of Stormo in November, then the DUP will be seen as Unionists who again said “NO” to progress.

    Far from the TUV going away – they will inevitably be seen as the anti-agreement party that stood its ground that didnt become a pro-agreement party for a while and then as a result of a poor election become an anti-agreement party again.

    That was a trick tried by Trimble and once the plain Unionist people of Norn Iron see the DUP in post-Lundy mode retreating from their position the retreat will turn into a rout – just like it has done for other Uninoists in the past.

    Verdict: Robbo to supply the necessaries.

    *It would seem that the UU/Tory CryptoMerger of a party are now also pointing in the right direction

  • David Vance

    Comrade Stalin,

    Suggest you check out Labour’s share of the vote in the most recent European poll and then have a little think about your concept of a weird world.

    ItwasSammyetc,

    My distaste for terrorists in government is one any decent person should share. The inherent dysfunctionality of enforced power sharing seems to surprise certain alleged intellects. I fail to see why.

  • Greenflag

    Driftwood ,

    ‘I just found on the mainland, describing myself as ‘Northern Irish’ often led to exasperating explanations and perplexed discussions’

    I tried using the term Eastern Irish for a while following the example of a Berliner abroad who was so tired of being asked whether he was from West Berlin or East Belrin that he truthfully answered he was from South Berlin .

    People stopped asking any more questions . I found that telling people one is from Eastern Ireland is a great conversation stopper -very handy on a long flight when all you want is to get some sleep 😉

  • Greenflag

    David Vance ,

    ‘My distaste for terrorists in government is one any decent person should share.’

    I don’t like the DUP either but they do represent a significant number of unionists and at the last general election a substantial majority.

    ‘ The inherent dysfunctionality of enforced power sharing seems to surprise certain alleged intellects. I fail to see why.’

    Northern Ireland is inherently a dysfunctional State. It does not have the degree of long term broad constitutional support for it’s continued existence that would be considered the norm in other states . Almost 50% of English people do not aspire to be part of France and 45% of the Republic’s population do not aspire to be part of the UK-neither do 47% % of Danes aspire to be part of Germany.

    You can no more have voluntary power sharing in Northern Ireland than you can put 10 hungry lions and 20 fat sheep together in an enclosed field in the evening and expect to wake up in the morning to see that the lions are all dead and the sheep have suffered a few minor flesh wounds.

    The ‘present ‘ relative stability in NI is due to enforced power sharing however dysfunctional. What else can you expect from a dysfunctional state ?

    When we continue to see and witness the rabid anti all things Irish emanating from the TUV and elements within the DUP then you can safely bet your life savings that the only hope for ‘voluntary’ power sharing in NI will be after the NI State in its present format ceases to exist or is replaced by a smaller predominantly unionist state in the north east of the province following a fair repartition administered by a neutral international agency such as the UN or EU.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Sammy, you’re on a different planet, I can’t do anything for you. I agree that the parties who are represented in the assembly want to see progress on the policing and justice matter (the UUP I’m less sure about) but it’s the DUP who will make the call and if they’re getting jumpy, it’s going to stall. SF are probably going to try to keep quiet about this but if push comes to shove, the DUP can’t be seen to be adopting policing and justice powers based on an SF agenda.

    The other thing Allister has going for him is the fact that the assembly and executive is, in general, pretty crap. It seems to be in an almost permanent state of stalemate, and this is because of the way the DUP and SF have been conducting government, using it to feather their own political nests by trying to weaken their political opponents, rather than getting down to the business of good government. This doesn’t help to bolster the institutions. The parties can’t even point to a list of the legislation they’ve brought in or the things they have achieved together, apart from the silly stunt over water charges which is no longer a viable trump card.

    David Vance, I’m consistently opposed to blowing up hotels with civilians and British civil servants in them. You are not (Irgun), so I don’t see why you think you can be taken seriously with this attitude of yours about terrorism.

    I’m looking at the Labour European election result. I still don’t see how an 86% majority who voted for candidates who support power sharing is favourable to your position or in any way underlines your argument. Perhaps you’ll need to explain it to the slow learners among us. If the DUP and UUP can retain the support of 75% of unionist voters, which they did in the European election, I still don’t see what the threat is to their position. Of course, perhaps you think that Jim Allister is going to somehow be able to persuade some of the unionist majority to switch to his point of view. I’d like to see how you think that can be done.

    This stuff of yours about the ending of mandatory coalition is, in this case, an argument return to simple unionist majority rule. It simply will not happen, not only because there is no political will among any of the actors involved to bring it about, but because there would be a civil war. I certainly could not tolerate being governed by a group of people incorporating Jim Allister (who can’t even bring themselves to condemn loyalist murder in a timely or direct fashion) without some sort of counterbalance.

    Voluntary coalition with a weighted majority is the only likely alternative but since nationalism is opposed to this idea it’s not going anywhere.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Greenflag:

    ceases to exist or is replaced by a smaller predominantly unionist state in the north east of the province following a fair repartition administered by a neutral international agency such as the UN or EU.

    A small state within which loyalist paramilitaries and their unionist political apologists would run rampant ? Are you nuts ?

  • fin

    “I tried using the term Eastern Irish”
    Greenflag, been from Donegal, when the question arises am I from North or South Ireland I always reply ‘both’ and leave it at that.

    OC, you mention 2 events that occurred after the Troubles had started! hence they couldn’t have influenced the reasons for the troubles breaking out.

    As a kid, I had private political conversations repeated to me by a driver of a certain FF TD at the time, what was said and what was put into the public domain differed greatly. Although I understand that a lot of volunteers were trained at an FCA barracks in Donegal!

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    CS,

    I know you are always very slow (in denial in my opinion) to admit to any weakness in the DUPs position on this issue but you surely you must realise that they only got the police and justice ‘process’ under way at all because of pressure from SF and the 2 governments.

    I take it you will at least admit that their position if Stormo collapses is much weaker now because the TUV are NOW an elctoral force and will (rightly) claim to be a the only proper anti-agreement party. They will have simply proved Jimbo right.

  • OC

    Posted by fin on Jun 13, 2009 @ 11:18 AM, quo he:

    “OC, you mention 2 events that occurred after the Troubles had started! hence they couldn’t have influenced the reasons for the troubles breaking out.”

    Didn’t mean to imply that that these were in any way a cause of The Troubles, though perhaps an explanation of how a civil rights assertion morphed into a transnational war over political sovereignty.

    From http://www.politics.ie/northern-ireland/18503-vol-seosamh-mac-domhnaill-faithful-soldier-republic-5.html

    “The Dublin government did set up field hospitals along the Border in 1969 and the FCA trained many northern Nationalists in weaponry (indeed, I’m personally aware of a number of firearms being ‘liberated’ from FCA barracks in Donegal).”

  • CS Parnell

    fin re 1916

    Yes, it was about independence, but the independence of a Gaelic Ireland. The revolutionaries rose up in the explicit knowledge that their act made Irish unity less hard to achieve but they did not want an English-speaking 32 county home rule Ireland.

    Incidentally the “bombing” thing wasn’t a dig at nationalism. I’m from West Belfast (and not the Shankill either!). The truth is that Nationalists beat the IRA because they were never prepared to vote for them and their SF proxies so long as the war went on.

    And do you think that if a military victory had been won by the IRA that the unionists wouldn’t have fled the country?

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Stuck-record Sammy: “Verdict: Robbo to supply the necessaries”. Earthlings’ verdict: ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha – keep ’em coming Stuckers, this is some of your best work yet! Mind you, I’m still laughing at your fantastic, out of this world slabber that Stormont has *already* been nixed, by the bould Sinn Five, last year, what with the lack of P&J n’all. You really are a pill, and you really are very sensible to keep on running.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I know you are always very slow (in denial in my opinion) to admit to any weakness in the DUPs position on this issue but you surely you must realise that they only got the police and justice ‘process’ under way at all because of pressure from SF and the 2 governments.

    We need to deal with your screwed up perceptions before we can have a proper discussion. Devolution of policing and justice powers is not “under way”.

    I take it you will at least admit that their position if Stormo collapses is much weaker now because the TUV are NOW an elctoral force and will (rightly) claim to be a the only proper anti-agreement party. They will have simply proved Jimbo right.

    It’s very hard for me to “admit” that, as I don’t know. I think everyone will be worse off if the executive collapses. I think the result will be a stalemate which could well lead to violence from both sides. But make no mistake, the DUP aren’t going to fling themselves under a bus to keep Sinn Fein, the two governments, or anyone else happy. Presently the (large) majority of unionists appear to be endorsing the powersharing arrangements, but if that changes then the DUP will have no choice other than to follow the wishes of their electorate.

  • Greenflag

    Fin ,

    ‘when the question arises am I from North or South Ireland I always reply ‘both’ and leave it at that.’

    LOL – That’s very good Fin 🙂 Ten out of ten .

  • Greenflag

    Comrade Stalin ,

    ‘A small state within which loyalist paramilitaries and their unionist political apologists would run rampant ? Are you nuts ?

    Why would they ? No point to it in that circumstance . rampant ? . In a smaller Unionist State with a 10 to 15% Nationalist minority -voluntary power sharing would probably include representatives of the nationalist minority . In fact you might even have some unionist factions bending over backwards to be nice to their nationalist fellow provincials ? Unionism would split left , right and centre for local self government purposes and the ‘fear’ of becoming a political minority in their ‘own ‘ country would no longer be a factor !

    While I have little faith in unionism as a political faith I have more faith in the unionist people to behave properly following an agreed repartition

  • Comrade Stalin

    While I have little faith in unionism as a political faith I have more faith in the unionist people to behave properly following an agreed repartition

    I don’t know where you get your faith from. Have you seen the way they run the councils they control ? The idea that they’d be nice if you make the minority even smaller than it was in 1921 is pretty weird.

  • Greenflag

    comrade stalin .

    ‘I don’t know where you get your faith from.’

    The extensive research done on rats forced to live with competing rats in a finite enclosed space . The degree of fear and paranoia exhibited by either of the tribe of rats is directly correlated to it’s numerical ascendancy over it’s competition .

    Now you may think that human beings are not just overgrown rats but have powers of reason and intelligence far in excess of our rodentian fellow mammals and this is indeed true . Alas there have been only too many examples in the current financial crisis (think Madoff ) and throughout history where there is more than ample evidence that ‘rats ‘ may indeed have superior ethics 🙁

    ‘Have you seen the way they run the councils they control ? ‘

    No but please enlighten us if not on this thread then when an opportunity presents itself . I’m sure that SF and the SDLP would respond in like manner in areas under their local control . If they don’t they are fools.

    I would’nt tar all unionists with the same brush just as I would not expect the reverse either .

  • Different Drummer

    Commrade S writes About The Debate:

    ‘I’d remind the unionist posters, including Mr Vance, that the mandate to end power sharing currently stands at 14%. The mandate to maintain it, or at least which is not substantially opposed to it, stands at 86%. It’s a weird world you guys live in where 86% is not a sufficient percentage to show support for something in a democracy.’

    But as we see that the dynamic of the tail wagging the dog is back with a vengeance – it does not matter what the DUP and SF or London do now – as the cry WE ARE THE PEOPLE!!

    – has been raised by Jim-Ulster-Allister and that can not be gainsaid – you forget that Ulster Loyalism is a much older phenomenon than democracy and when it kicks it kicks to do mortal injury to those who oppose it.