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.
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.”