Robinson unveils DUP policy document

The DUP have released a 35 page document entitled “Building on Success” which will apparently be available at their party conference. The exerts on the website include Robinson saying:

We took the right decision in 2007 to restore devolution. The course we have charted over recent years has been good for unionism and good for Northern Ireland . It has not been easy, but it has been worth the effort. Even in difficult circumstances much has been achieved in a short period of time, but we must better explain the benefits of the Assembly to the public.
The form of devolution that we have is far better than Direct Rule, but it is far from perfect. The abnormal political arrangements which are presently in place are a temporary measure as a bridge to more permanent arrangements. But this process of change must be managed carefully.
Robinson goes on to say:

Unionism needs decisions taken on the basis of political realities, not unobtainable aspirations.

Almost everyone within unionism seems to be agreed that the current arrangements are not working adequately and should be replaced with voluntary coalition and weighted majority voting. The area of disagreement is the timing and mechanism of moving towards a more efficient form of government. The problem seems to be that within the context of the existing structures the DUP will not be able to move to other arrangements due to the mutual veto. Hence, unless Robinson is willing to contemplate a complete renegotiation of the agreement which will itself almost certainly mean an at least temporary collapse of the assembly; his aspiration is unobtainable.

Update
Predictably enough Jim Allister is unimpressed by Robinson’s claims and stated:

“As for the pretence that structural changes will yet be made to the Belfast Agreement devolution which the DUP day and daily operates, the document utterly fails to explain how they will overcome the Sinn Fein veto gifted to them at St Andrews in any review. Change will only come when the present unworkable charade is brought to its knees and that will not happen through working it, but through thwarting it by electoral rejection.

The DUP could hasten the day of change by ceasing forthwith to operate that which they know has failed and can never succeed, but sadly the lure and love of office provides the greater pull than the desire for meaningful democratic change.”

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Presumably there will be royalties payable to Mr Trimble for his lines below.

    “Whilst republicans have become adept at dressing up defeat as a victory, too often unionists have failed to recognise success. What Republicans failed to win through terrorism they must not be permitted to win through other means. ”

    Why do Unionists remain loyal to a state that would betray them as quickly as say “they are all mad Paddies anyway”

    “Devolution is better for Northern Ireland and for unionism than Direct Rule with the inevitable Dublin influence. Who would want to throw away the control over our affairs that we have achieved in the last few years?”

  • Seymour Major

    Very sensible words from Peter Robinson until you add in the “smash Sinn Fein” slogans when the election comes around. A vote for the DUP is a vote for political schitzophrenia.

    Nothing surprising about Jim Allister’s comments. In the last few days, we have been getting a flavour of his doomsday scenario where the DUP lose 9 more seats that Sinn Fein and Martin McGuinness gets the right to be FM.

  • Greenflag

    ‘But this process of change must be managed carefully. ‘

    Robinsonspeak for

    ‘there’s really nothing we can do until we walk out of the Assembly when SF win the FM post after the next election ‘

    ‘Change will only come when the present unworkable charade is brought to its knees and that will not happen through working it, but through thwarting it by electoral rejection.’

    Allisonspeak for

    ‘ I’m not a lundy just wait and see if you vote for me ‘

    ‘The DUP could hasten the day of change by ceasing forthwith to operate that which they know has failed and can never succeed, but sadly the lure and love of office provides the greater pull than the desire for meaningful democratic change.”’

    Allisonspeak for

    ‘I’m not as the rest of men -neither will I talk to SF or shake hands with any dirty Fenian nor will I ever share power with Taigs or Papists except maybe with some really really nice and tame lime green SDLP man or preferably woman
    who will bend over backwards and allow me to give her her just desserts’

    In plain Hibernian can I suggest to Mr Allister and the TUV generally to go and stick his and their you know whats, up an aperture at the rear backside of their thinking organ 🙁

  • Sean

    Its all just unionist leaders telling unionists what they want to hear regardless of its basis in fiction

    PS Turgon I believe it is exerPts

  • “the desire for meaningful democratic change.”

    A nice idea but I don’t think London and Dublin are likely to change tack anytime soon; they’re more likely at this moment in time to be attempting to draw the Republican dissidents into the political tent.

  • Jim Allister’s argument is just plain silly – there are two options available to Robinson to reform the institutions, via the Assembly and / or via Westminster , the very same options available to Allister except Robinson being elected and First Minister will obviously give him an advantage – devolution has negated Labour direct rule who would not coutenance reform no matter what Allister says , may be more chance under the Tories with the UUP link up . Allister always forgets we would have had two years of Labour direct rule policies by now, super councils reoartitioning NI, grammar schools completely gone etc he has no solution.

  • alan56

    It is surely not in Robbo’s interest to see P&J devolved anytime before the election

  • Brian Walker

    This is no more than a conference rallying speech in glorious technicolor. I make it that 11/21 “achievements” are sectarian or negative ones.

    DUP Ministers driving the agenda in Executive
    • DUP control over vital decisions by nationalist / republican Ministers
    • Further evidence of republican support for the police, courts & rule of law
    • Grammar schools and academic selection preserved
    • Extension of Free Public Transport to those over 60
    • Introduction of Free Prescriptions
    • No Irish language Act
    • Regional rates frozen
    • Assistance with fuel bills for pensioners and low income households
    • Rapid action for flood victims
    • Blocked Direct Rule plans to force us to pay twice for water
    • Divisive Seven super-Council model prevented
    • Planning Policy Statement 21
    • Greatest ever investment in roads, schools and hospitals
    • Greater funding for innocent victims, Loyal Orders and Ulster-Scots community
    • Accountability for North-South relations
    • Greater focus East-West
    • Devolution of policing and justice on DUP terms and when DUP decides
    • DUP control over any future Justice Minister
    • Prevented the return of the Civic Forum
    • Blocked the creation of new all-Ireland bodies
    • Prevented the expansion of a politically driven North-South agenda

    The big ticket item is smaller government and a voluntary coalition. In an innocent world a voluntary coalition is as the DUP says, much more democratic and flexible. You can see how for their own reasons, the SDLP, UUs, Alliance and Greens etc could be tempted. Pre- or post election compacts could be reached transparently on policies and ad hoc alliances struck during an Assembly term could make government much smoother and head off crises in advance. Alliance might become viable as a party of government and the very minor parties might get a look-in. But as it’s the fiercly partisan DUP pressing for it, the difference between “mandatory” and voluntary coalition all but disappears. Nationalists’ credible suspicions of DUP motives would leave Sinn Fein stronger than ever, pressing for its own sectarian list. Two things would have to happen for VC to become even a theoretical runner: the very reverse of this propaganda document, a consensual DUP which would impress other parties with its devotion to non-sectarian and cross community policies ; and the support of both governments for primary legislation at Westminster. Pigs might fly and Peter knows it. This can only be a sop to TUV opinion. Beyond it, I only hope he has a more constructive agenda.

  • iluvni

    DUP double jobbing then to 2015?
    Is that when they all reach retirement age?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Like Peter found out with his keeping SF out of Justice ministry he could only do so at the expense of keeping himself out – voluntary coalition would also cut both ways.

    In a scenario where Nationalism wants the reinstatement of Stormo (post collapse which is now looking like a reasonable bet) and the UUP have the poliitcal balls to move into the middle ground and be pro-agreement (perhaps offer them the First Minister’s post) then SF and the SDLP should consider voluntary coalition ( perhaps with a few all Ireland sweetners thrown in) and consign those in the DUP and the TUV to to become the Stormo opposition and thrash around to their hearts content in 17th century ideological undergrowth where they spend most of their time anyway.

    A party on the electoral slide should be careful what they wish for as Peter should have learned from his STA slip-up where he allowed Nationalism access to the First Minister’s office.

  • Greenflag

    Brian Walker

    ‘I make it that 11/21 “achievements” are sectarian or negative ones.’

    And some are even self contradictory .

    The DUP prevents divisiveness on the one hand as in

    • Divisive Seven super-Council model prevented

    While increasing divisiveness on the other as in

    • No Irish language Act

    par for the course and no surprises there either .And Peter Robinson thinks that VC is going to happen . Perhaps it will . In the 22nd century .

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    GreenFlag,

    SF the SDLP and the UUP have 62 seats – if anything like those numbers were maintained why not grant the DUP their wish of vouluntary coalition and consign them to anti-agreement opposition where they could then devote themselves to smashing SF without disrupting business in Stormo and SF could get on with running the country.

  • Hugely entertaining document out just in time for Panto season. Great to see fiction writing has not died out.

    Is Peter feeling a tad uneasy these days, and if so, I wonder why that might be?

  • Sean

    Sammy Lets face it which ever team crosses the divide consogns them selves to the dust bin of history

    SDLP to unionists or UUP to nationalists the end would be nigh

    Besides wouldnt the UUP have to get permision from London?

  • Sean

    Because David there are too many like you around, as I remember it was Percy that finally got the truth from you on your own site. Its not that you object to SF in government its that you object to all nationalists in government. You simply don’t want them about the place

    If any one has the link please post it

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Sean,

    that is usually the case but Unionism still has not adjusted to life 10 years after the GFA and surely there must be a Unionist electrorate in waiting for a party to say they are in favour or progress rather than spending all their energies trying to stop it. Perhpas London can make that clear to the UUP.

  • Sean

    Percy = seeker of truth! Well done. Provos in power is always wrong, SDLP in power is unlikely to provide much progress given their shocking political incompetence.

  • Sam Thompson

    ‘surely there must be a Unionist electorate in waiting for a party to say they are in favour or progress rather than spending all their energies trying to stop it’

    spot on – would there be such abysmal turnout in unionist areas if the stay away voters had a positive reason to go to the polls? i believe not

    ‘SDLP in power is unlikely to provide much progress given their shocking political incompetence’

    maybe the NIUP should come back and give us the positive, intelligent, competent political leadership we need? so competent a party that they fell out with the one man (old bob) who made them electable, and disappeared into electoral oblivion

  • Harry

    Mr Robinson – the ship has sailed! You’ve committed to devolution and you MUST accept that many of the DUP core support who oppose devolution unconditionally will desert you to the TUV. Let’s not forget Mr Robinson that it was you and your party that were bickering at the UUP, opposing them on all grounds. You managed to defeat them and claim your party as the party of unionism. Then power got to your head, and you decided to support devolution. Now you have the TUV bickering at you and you dismiss them as the party that wishes to take us back to the past – when it was your party that was keeping us in the past by your constant “never, never never,” cries. What goes around comes around Mr Robinson.

    On another note, the DUP’s obsession for power is telling. They were the ones who negotiated the St Andrews Agreement and agreed to the largest party of any designation becoming the First Minister. Now they say, that IF, as I hope, that Sinn Fein become the largest party in the Assembly, then the DUP will not take up the Deputy post. So Mr Robinson can I then deduce that devolution is beneficial when unionists hold the FM post, but when it is a republican who holds it, with the DUP having to settle for the equally-powerful DFM post, devolution no longer becomes benefical for the people of Northern Ireland? The DUP changed the appointment of FM and DFM in order to coerce the unionist electorate to vote for the DUP and to hammer the final nail in the UUP coffin. But now they are not prepared to honour their agreement when things go pair shaped? All I can say to the DUP is that you reap what you sow, and I hope that the TUV take enough seats from the DUP that Sinn Fein do become the largest party and that the DUP can finally stop treating the electorate as stupid. WE KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING MR ROBINSON AND IT AIN’T GONNA WORK! I will never vote for the sectarian, homophobic DUP! (I won’t vote for TUV either)

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Harry,

    why dont the UUP move into the centre ground and cut a deal with Nationalism – there should be a change to the GFA/STA legislation (after the next Stormo elections) to say that if a party does not accept the GFA/STA then the other parties can proceed without them. An executive with SF/UUP/SDLP/Alliance could then run the show and if successful, Unionists could if so inclined, return to the UUP and they could supply the First Minister.

    The DUP and the TUV could take up their place in opposition and argue to their hearts content about which of them had the most extreme and silliest policies.