The speech Peter Robinson should give

Fair Deal, David Gordon and I wrote three short speeches we thought Peter Robinson should give to the DUP faithful tomorrow.

Read them here.

  • Sean

    I must say that only the speach by David Gordon had any sense to it. The other two pie in the sky big house unionist speaches are only going to give hope to the happless. David basicaly called for unionism to wake up and live in the real world the other two were about re-animating the past and seemingly with the full agreement of the nationalists. Dream on boys

  • Driftwood

    He could give them a big reality check by telling the conference that the Earth is 4.5 Billion years old, not 6,000. But that may be too much for people whose average age is about 5 times their IQ.

  • DC

    Back on form Hellfire.

  • oneill

    Good stuff.

    “Edward Carson, would be proud of where we are today.”


    “Ulster is at peace. Its people well fed and cared for and the two traditions are at last finding the space to work together in mutual interest.”

    A double hmmm…

    “He would have been happy to see an ash tree planted beside him at Parliament Buildings. A symbol of the Gael in him and so many of us, nationalist and unionist; a reminder that whilst proudly British we are also deeply Irish”

    100%. Carson should always be the prime role model for all of those wanting to push NI Unionism beyond its present narrow suffocating tribal parameters. Proud to be British, proud to be Irish- no contradiction whatsoever in that statement.

    And can’t Fair Deal be somehow bribed to start blogging again here?

  • Expenses111

    The only speech who makes sense and deserves respect is the first one by David Gordon. Conall’s speech is much like him – weak and lacks any imagination. Also destined to failure.
    David’s speech has a reality check which the DUP could do with. As David says the DUP need to remind people what it was like under Direct Rule.

  • there is no other realistic option

    I don’t usually comment but I have to say that David Gordon’s speech is the only sensible one.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Hmm. Conall’s speech bears the mark of someone who likes to think he understands unionism, but actually doesn’t. We all know that Carson was a closet crypto-republican, but I don’t think this is a concept unionists can warm to.

    I actually liked Fair Deal’s one the best. It is direct and robustly worded, and is aimed squarely at DUP supporters and trying to address the concerns of people who might be considering switching to the TUV. The DUP leader will not be trying to sell some grandiose vision (sorry David); the first priority must surely to hold his party together and sell the benefits of what has been achieved so far. The federal UK angle is very interesting. I think it is inevitable, and it shows at least some in the DUP have been doing some serious thinking about the way the UK is going in the post-devolution world.

  • Turgon

    An interesting article.

    To my mind Conall’s tries to set a tone of sort of liberal triumphalism: we have won so now we can be liberal. If the TUV did not exist and the UUP were still completely falling apart (they may still be close to it) it might work. However, the above are not the case and as such his speech would be something of a political suicide note though not as effective as Trimble’s (what could ever be)?

    In addition Conall may fail to understand but many, possibly most, unionists in the DUP and wider society simply do not self define as Irish and for Robinson or any other leader to try to make them do so would be politically inept especially when the attempt to make unionists recognise their supposed “Irishness” has always been a central plank of republican ideology. Any possibility of many unionists celebrating their Irishness was washed away by the sectarian blood lust of those who claimed to want to make them thus.

    David Gordon’s article makes more sense: commenting on the dangers of Direct rule makes sense though always harking back to Hain may not work that well since many will see his tenure as purely designed to bully the DUP into the agreement and as such in a way mentioning it highlights the fact that the DUP compromised in a very significant way. Bashing big house unionism is an excellent idea as it also makes people think about the likes of Cameron (a pretty big house sort of a person). Admitting mistakes is good though I am not so sure about saying that being at war with the media is a bad idea. Many unionists are very suspicious of the likes of the BBC and may feel that courting them is impossible or even undesirable. Talking about true partnership is good but there should be more SF bashing if you want to carry that off: Robinson would need to lay the blame for lack of partner ship at SF’s door.

    Fair_deal’s article of course makes most sense which is unsurprising him being in the DUP. I would fault practically none of it. Robinson needs to say sorry for the expenses: indeed he might be wise to apologise personally and on behalf of his wife. Fair_deal’s comments on the UUP and TUV also make good sense. The only problem (and it is the only major difference between fair_deal and many in the TUV) is that f_d thinks that the best way of moving on to a better system is from within the current structures. How this can be achieved within the confines of the mutual veto is highly unclear. Equally I agree that it will not be easy outwith those confines.

  • Pigeon Toes

    I liked the ad for “The Classic Comics” free next week with Belfast Telegraph.

  • Lads it is worth remembering that it was Carson who considered himself Irish. As did Burke. Two years ago at the opening of the Boyne Commemorative Centre Iain Paisley too described himself as proudly Irish.

  • Turgon

    As I said for Robinson or any other leader to self define as Irish would be politically inept. Now clearly that comment of Dr. Paisley’s alone did not end his tenure as leader. However, a number of his decisions during his time as First Minister were politically unwise and inept. I would suggest that such comments were not particularly helpful and may have been a hinderance to him.

  • shane

    Yes Conall, but Carson’s defintion of what constituted Irishness differs vastly from the contemporary conception. He saw it as just appellating geographical locality and not indicating national affinity.

    “All I can say about that is this. If the South and West would come forward to-day to me, or if there was anybody here who could say it for them, and say, “Look here, you and I are members of the same country “—I will not say nation, for Ireland never was a nation—”and we each love our country; let us each do our best, starting in good temper to govern in these new Parliaments the districts which are entrusted to them,” and I would grasp his hand firmly, and I would say with all my heart, “I accept it as a settlement,”

  • fair_deal


    “How this can be achieved within the confines of the mutual veto is highly unclear. Equally I agree that it will not be easy outwith those confines.”

    JA highlights the mutual veto but negotiators have a ‘veto’ too – they simply refuse to agree. Does JA think the two governments will just cut a deal with him and exclude Sinn Fein? How does JA get SF to agree to all this in the new round of talks? So in or out it is the exact same problem.

    Here is how I think it is done:
    1) Working a bad system proves it is a bad system and builds up momentum for change. People can tell you its a bad car nothing like driving it to know. This limits your opponents room for maneouvre. Previously when the DUP pointed out the problems about mandatory coalition who was willing to listen to them? When Robinson made his speech for changes in September the reaction was much more open and in some areas positive.
    Think about this how many nationalist parents of a P7 child with a bit of motivation for the kids to do well is queuing up to thank Catriona Ruane for the bastardised system she has created? If you reach the place were you opponents are trying to defend a system that everyone else has given up on then your strategy is being successful.
    2) You use the opportunities of outstanding issues to get what you want – ie P&J negotiation. As I have said before P&J is to Unionism what decommissioning was to republicanism – look how much SF seemed to squeeze out on that issue. Look at what we have got so far – safeguards as regards ministry, ministerial appointments and from London to get the resources P&J needs and we still haven’t finished.
    3) You are better at politics than your opponents. As it said in Nigel Dodds speech today –
    “through out-working, out-thinking and out-dealing our opponents today, tomorrow and in the years ahead.”
    We seriously need to stop this quasi ‘idolisation’ of the abilities of republicans – just because they were ‘effective’ at being a pack of murdering bastards doesn’t mean they are effective politicians. It has become increasingly clear that part of their success was based on the simple fact the governments wanted to give them things. Their southern strategy running into a wall is a further example of how they are not omnipotent politicians.
    The decline of the UUP has also helped improve Unionism’s lot so our past history of failure predicting a future of failure is no longer valid.
    4) There is also the unknown – events – for example the job of the DUP was made easier when because of the fall-out from the Northern Bank robbery and the McCartney murder and aftermath. If they make mistakes you utilise them e.g. a recent small example was the SOCA comments. Likewise you avoid making your own mistakes.

    The final advantage is that while you work on the goal you have access to power – the other strategy leaves you none and a high risk of something worse – joint rule (IMO in the medium to long-term rather than short). Under the present system you will only get small ‘gains’ but something is better than nothing.

    I end with this, it is not meant as an exact analogy to our recent history but I know you like military analogies so I leave you with this thought – the charge of the light brigade didn’t fail because they only had one go 😉

  • fair_deal


    “Lads it is worth remembering that it was Carson who considered himself Irish”

    IIRC as he campaigned in his speeches he talked about what made Ulster and its people distinctive.

    Personally always been more of a Craig fan.

  • Turgon

    So well argued and put that I will take some time to produce a counter argument. By the way why do none of your party manage to sound so eloquent and hence, why on earth do they not employ you.


  • fair_deal


    “I will take some time to produce a counter argument.”

    Look forward to it

    “your party manage to sound so eloquent”

    It’s a problem of multiple-jobbing and the party structures not adapting to a post-devolutuionary situation – simply too few of them get the time they need to think about these things in enough detail.

    “why on earth do they not employ you.”

    1. Northern Ireland is a small place and in my younger wilder days I managed to rub a significant number of people now in positions of influence up the wrong way. The key person the party relies on for senior level recruitment is one of them.
    2. I’m no good at showing deference to power and my good old Ulster-Scots upbringing means I answer back and in non-sugar coated terms.
    3. I’m (presently) well paid and even if they were minded (which they aren’t) they probably couldn’t afford me.
    4. Being paid isn’t important it’s getting things done
    5. I am bit more free-thinking than most in the DUP so that leads to fears I’d be a liability about the place.

  • informed and independent

    So the DUP are happy to make use of you and the likes of you with talent but will not trust you. That really inspires confidence in the DUP. What exactly have the DUP done for unionists?