The DUP, British generals and the workers paradise of North Korea

The classic criticism of the British generals during the First World War was that they persisted with the same tactics when they were failing. Time after time there was an initial artillery barrage and following that a mass attack where the troops were set over the top to their deaths before the machine guns of the German defenders. A number of semi revisionists have suggested that it was far from that simple and that in actual fact the generals tried different tactics each time but at the end of the day it always seemed to end up with a slaughter of men by machine guns.

The DUP have launched their election campaign with a typically robust statement from Peter Robinson. However, rather like the British army and the trenches the tactics seem extremely similar to the ones which brought about the DUP’s humiliation at last June’s European election.
The idea of moving forwards is one which has been a recurrent refrain but different parties have very different concepts of what forwards means. The progress Robinson triumphs may exist: however, to others the sight of the murderers of their kith and kin as his partners in government is progress but in totally the wrong direction.

The issue of expenses might have seemed to have been put to bed but Robinson seems determined to repeat his Marie Antoinette tactic stating: “As the MP with the lowest expenses in Northern Ireland and who is one of the minority of MPs at Westminster who has been given a clean bill of health by the audit team led by Sir Thomas Legge there might be a temptation to argue that there is no reason to apologise for what has happened.” That suggestion, that he is pretty blameless, sits extremely ill with the amounts of money which Peter Robinson, his wife and family have made from the tax payer.

He again repeats the suggestion that all the MPs elected will stand down as MLAs but again that reminds people that he has promised and seemed to renege on such promises before.
He seems willing to admit to some problems in presentation:

In moving forward it is right that we face up to criticisms that others have made of us. Like every party we have made mistakes. Some of the criticisms we have faced are fair but many others are not.
I am the first to accept that in 2007 we did not do enough to explain what we did and why we did it, but I do not for one second accept that we broke our word or went back on our election commitments. Our manifesto at the time was clear that we were committed to restoring devolution.

This sounds very like the statements produced after the by election at Dromore and again after the European election. He acknowledges that the European election went poorly but then goes back over the issue of that being a disaster because Sinn Fein topped the poll; apparently no one in DUP high command is yet willing to accept that that threat had absolutely no effect on the unionist population’s voting habits last time and merely handed SF an extra victory.

The second half of the piece degenerates into an attack on the UUP and TUV. Again this has been tried before. Attacking the UUP for selling out is probably not unreasonable and few dispute that the DUP have done a little bit better than the UUP did when they were in charge, but that is the problem: the DUP have done a little bit better but only a very little..

Robinson goes over the familiar attack on the TUV that they are unwittingly (or otherwise) advancing Sinn Fein’s agenda. This rather poor attack has been tried since the TUV’s inception and is simply nonsense: were the DUP perusing a Sinn Fein agenda when the sought to modify the Belfast Agreement at St. Andrew’s? (well I suppose changing the rules on the election of First minister was perusing an SF agenda but we will ignore that). This line of attack just does not work. Jim Allister has answered it as usual but it is not the fact that there is an easy rebuttal which makes it so poor. Unfortunately for the DUP the unionist community simply do not seem to accept it. Outside the DUP’s inner circle no one actually takes the idea seriously but so divorced from the electorate have the DUP’s inner circle become that they do not realise this. They would rather believe the opinion polls produced by the NIO; the same sort of polls which before the 2005 Westminster election predicted electoral annihilation for the DUP.

The whole DUP narrative that the agreement is the best that could have been negotiated: that the UUP did worse and that if the TUV tried renegotiation it would be worse still, is depressingly familiar. It seems to come from an analysis that Peter Robinson is unionism’s great hope; that his vision is the only one which will work and that whatever the hardships unionism is best with Peter. That might conceivably be true but sounds a lot more like the propaganda of the Workers Paradise under the Juche idea of Comrade Kim Il-sung. Indeed amongst Robinson’s inner circle the idea of him as unionism’s great hope seems to have achieved the status of a secular religious belief. Incidentally despite North Korea being an atheist state Kim Il-sung is the “Eternal President of the Republic.”

The biggest problem with this beginning to the DUP campaign is that it is exactly the same as the failed European election campaign with a little bit of added apparent humility: that humility somewhat scuppered by Robinson extolling his small expenses claims.

To come back to the British Generals it is exactly the same idea: tweak the strategy which brought disaster in Europe and because they just about held on to the European seat then carry on as before. So stuck in this analysis are the DUP that like the British generals the Somme is a great victory: hundreds of thousands of lives lost to gain a few miles; we got back our European seat (the parallels are there). Eventually someone may wake up to the fact that this strategy is not working and think about changing it or even changing both it and the leader.

This author has not written a biography and will not be writing one.

  • Harry J

    humiliation? wasnt jim allister the sitting MEP who lost his seat?

    the only NI one to do so

  • martin r

    I always assumed that from the shadow of Paisley there would emerge an intelligent, honest, fair-minded man who would be the modern day leader that our country needed to take us into a new and better era. That man would of-course be none other than Mr Robinson.

    Instead however when subjected to the full glare of public scrutiny we find a greedy, self-serving, arrogant, thoroughly dislikeable man who thinks he can lay the blame for all his woes at the door of the BBC and we are all so stupid that we’ll buy it. He was on a sticky enough wicket this week with his assertion that double jobbing should end for all but him and now this arrogant twoddle. I hope his constituents make him pay.

  • Turgon

    Harry J,
    Thank for proving my point about the DUP so effectively.

  • Paddy

    My. You are at it again. The French played a pivotal role in the Great War. And talking about the Great War, or the fate of the late French Queen have nothing to do with rabid, right wing sectarian minnow parties in the North of Ireland. North Korea, of course, has a connection to the Workers party and Prionsias de Rossa, who was never a member of OIRA or IRA. However, it too is tangential to your rant.

    You exploit the readers by making them think there might be something of substance on your post on a day when tension in Korea is very high and when perhaps the Brits, who wil get their Waterloo in that area, had stuck their noses in.

    The squabblings of minnow sectsrian, provincial parties is farce, not high or Greek drama.

  • Harry J

    I hear the TUV will be outside polling stations asking people to sign thier petitiion for the release of murderer Torrens Knight

  • Harry J


    Harry J,
    Thank for proving my point about the DUP so effectively.
    Posted by Turgon on Mar 26, 2010 @ 07:08 PM

    so Turgon are you denying that Jim ALlister is the only sitting NI MEP ever to lose their seat?

  • Harry J

    Turgon , tell me. In all the elections fought by the TUV how many have they won so far?

  • Greenflag

    Confucius say

    ‘O eggs do not fight with stones ‘

    The TUV have nothing to offer Northern Ireland except 1969 /1981 all over again . It’s that or Repartition or both .

    Which machine gun nest do you fancy charging up hill against ?

    What is Turgon’s solution or does he have one ?. Wishing the German machine guns were not there did not extend the lives of the poor sods sent against them one second .

    Say goodbye to the TUV and leave them before they leave you and everybody else .

  • wild turkey

    Turgon and anyone else interested

    kinda an off topic comment, totally apolitical and defintely dated, but i highly recommend a read of

    They Called It Passchendaele by Lyn MacDonald

    nothing more need be said

  • PrivateBob

    A word of caution perhaps on historical analogies Turgon.

    The British won the First World War, along with France and the USA (whoever they may be in your extended political metaphor) and with many other resources besides their troops on the Western Front. They also forced Germany into a surrender even though Germany occupied a lot of territory..I imagine the parallels are obvious?

  • Greenflag

    ‘Who would have noticed another madman around here ‘

    Captain Blackadder

  • Sorry, Turgon the Wise, the essential premise here falls down.

    Unsurprisingly, I’m going to be a factual nerd. At the outbreak of hostilities, the German army had 12,000 MG08 machine guns (derived from the Maxim prototype), which by 1916 they were producing at 170,000 a year.

    The British (nay “Allied”) problem was the inability to produce satisfactory alternatives (such as the unsatisfactory Lewis Light machine gun, barely good enough for dealing with the Irish irregulars). It would be otiose to surmise that the problem was patent restrictions (as happened, post-War, with the Mills bomb and other matters), but who am I to speculate about the workings of capitalism?

    So far, your analogy holds.

    It falls down because, ultimately, economics, manpower (the doughboys) and heavy artillery (hiya! Grandad!) sorted it all out.

    Now: do you want to persist with the analogy?

  • Turgon

    PrivateBob and Malcolm,
    I agree not my best analogy but it was all done in haste. I tried to make it the other way round but it was a bit too difficult.

    On the machine gun issue Malcolm: I have always though that one of the huge differences between first and Second wars was the fact that in the First World War railways could bring weapons etc. near to the front helping defenders but the atttacking was almost all on foot. In contrast in the Second World War there were efficient and reliable internal combustion engines allowing large numbers of armoured vehicles to cross terrain and protect the troops. Also of course in the First war telephones etc. were okay as static things but not portable again favouring the defender. Again reversed in the second world war.

    Anyhow thank you for the constructive criticism. I will try harder for the next one. Also it is about time I brought in some Shakephere and indeed a bit of Tolkein.

  • Harry J

    so turgon , any chance of answering my questions?:

    are you denying that Jim ALlister is the only sitting NI MEP ever to lose their seat?


    Turgon , tell me. In all the elections fought by the TUV how many have they won so far?

    And i see turgon does not deny the report that some TUV members intend to use the election to for their petition for the release of loyalist killers

  • Paul


    Harry J,
    Thank for proving my point about the DUP so effectively.
    Posted by Turgon on Mar 26, 2010 @ 07:08 PM

    turgon how many MPs will TUV gain.?And how many DUP MPs will lose there seats.?

  • Michaelhenry

    lions led by donkeys,now in the d.u.p we have donkeys led by monkeys, the british army was lucky to have the american army come to there rescue during the first world war,the d.u.p have no one put themselves,thats the major problem for the d.u.p.s survival.

  • Turgon

    Harry J,
    Do some DUP members intend to use the election as an opportunity to sexually abuse children? After all some of them seem to have a track record of abuse: see here. Strange that Paul Berry was forced out for alleged homosexuality but paedophilia seems acceptable. I guess Iris was not the only one in the DUP who feels that homosexuality is viler than child abuse. What is your view on the subject?

  • Harry J

    Ah turgon, afraid to answer your own questions i see. have you signed the petition yourself then? and how many elections have you won as a party?

  • Turgon

    Harry J,
    Of course I have not and nor will I be signing any such petition.

    As to the TUV not winning: I agree they have won no elections yet the DUP seem obsessed with attacking them. If we are so irrelevant why the need to attack us so often?

    Anyhow back to the DUP and sex crimes. Do you support abusing children or are you not that sort of DUP member?

  • cynic47

    Harry J

    I am not a fan of the TUV. You are obviously a very stanch supporter of the DUP and I respect that. Yes the wee man lost his seat and his participation in the election meant that the DUP finished in very new territory in third place. Now you can smirk about this all night because it is a fact that he lost his seat. However if you could just pull away the cobwebs from your eye’s and engage in a little rational thought you must realise that the TUV will damage the DUP by taking some votes. I have no idea what the final impact will be and he will probably not take any seats at Westminster although I suspect that he will give Junior one hell of a scare. The big impact he will make is ensuring that at the next Assembly election the DUP will not be the biggest party and he will take seats from them. For those reasons I would not engage in the teasing game. I wish that whatever everyone is hinting at about injunctions etc was put in the public domain. If any allegations are unfounded then folk can sue but if they are correct then we need to know the type of people that we are being asked tp vote for. Doesn’t really matter what party they represent.

  • Harry J

    Yes the wee man lost his seat and his participation in the election meant that the DUP finished in very new territory in third place..

    on first pref votes the DUP finished 2nd.

    The DUP have consistently finished ahead on first pref votes

    Westminster is first past the post so the DUP have nothing to fear, it will be a fight between the Ucunf and TUV for the scrps

  • For all you war buffs/armchair generals out there, do yourself, and everyone else a favour, and ponder on who is sitting pretty in Northern Ireland now and of the present plight of the passionate volunteers who made it a reality, after reading this classic expose of perverse losers and sinister winners by someone who knew what they were talking about, Major-General Smedley Darlington Butler, a 33-year veteran of the Marine Corps ……

  • I nebver thought I would be defending the DUP’s electoral record, but their European election result last year was not a failure; Dodds was elected, Allister was not. It was certainly the DUP’s worst ever European result, but it was not exactly a howling endorsement for the TUV whose incumbent candidate came fifth!

  • Michaelhenry

    amanfrommars, your talking about provo volunteers who have the people sitting pretty.

  • Greenflag

    a man from mars ,

    ‘by someone who knew what they were talking about, Major-General Smedley Darlington Butler, a 33-year veteran of the Marine Corps .’

    With a name like that he could surely have done better than winning medals for the eh 😉

    ‘Capture of Vera Cruz, Mexico, 1914,
    Capture of Ft. Riviere, Haiti, 1917’

    Well at least he was’nt slaughtered in a suicidal attack on a German Machine gun position.

    As for WAR BEING A RACKET ? This is not news . It always has been . Major General Smedley etc etc etc ‘s article is accurate enough in the international or major civil war examples but he never lived to experience the advent of nuclear weapons as a major deterrent .

    The ‘good news’ is that both the USA and USSR have reached agreement on a 30% reduction in their respective nuclear arsenals over the next 10 years which means that the two countries will now be restricted to having the caapacity to erase humanity from the earth only 7 times over, instead of the previous 10 times . Once is obviously not enough to be sure to be sure eh ?

    We have progressed since the Major General’s time. Instead of poison gases and chemicals not only have the world’s powers developed nuclear arsenals but have even advanced to the creation of the neo conservative ultimate dream weapon for global capitalists of the acquisitive kind i.e the neutron bomb-which kills the people but leaves their property intact i.e safe for the taking .

    The Major General was ironically more up to date when he pondered why his Government changed it’s mind -I quote

    Question :

    ‘Then what caused our government to change its mind so suddenly?

    Answer :


    Indeed . The great persuader . Ask any member of the US Congress or the UK or Irish Parliaments this past year or two and they will tell you (off the record of course) that they fear the ‘international bankers and gangsters of Wall St and the City of London more than they fear ‘nuclear weapons’. The latter of course merely kill you whereas the former enslave whole nations and economies and even get national political elites to do the ‘slaving’ for them .

    We can but hope that this new upcoming world of ‘transparency’ will do to the international banking fraternities what it may have done to the RC Church and other ‘closeted’ institutions.

  • Greenflag

    What is Turgon’s solution or does he have one ?.

    Nothing yet

    Silence is it’s own answer . He either doesn’t have one or would rather not have to explain how it might work in the real world as opposed to in the world of TUV ‘righteousness’ and the people who sign petitions for the release of one Torrens Knight.

  • Kevsterino

    If I was searching for a military analogy for the present course chosen by the TUV, I’d use the Battle of New Orleans in the war of 1812.

    Caste Allister in the role of the British commander, trapped by his own ignorance that a) The war was over and b) he was about to get a bunch of people killed needlessly.

  • cynic47


    Your man didn’t break much delph but that’s another story. Fact….it was a poor DUP showing.

    Regarding the despictable and much mentioned petition. Can we be sure that no DUP voters signed it? Is it possible that the subject of the petition is a lifetime DUP supporter himself?

  • Greenflag,

    You might enjoy the deep international discourses on this enlightening site ….. …. and I can certainly agree that being able to manipulate the markets and banking is a valuable tool which the muppets and puppets you have identified are not intelligent enough to possess, and that puts international bankers and gangsters in charge ….. which is an interesting position for Intelligence to consider?

  • Harry J

    Is it possible that the subject of the petition is a lifetime DUP supporter himself?
    Posted by cynic47 on Mar 27, 2010 @ 01:18 PM

    Unlike the TUV the DUP are not actively supporting the release of convicted terrorists

  • Michaelhenry

    i thought the d.u.p wanted to see all the convicted u.d.r 4 terrorists released.

  • pinni

    ‘ persisted with the same tactics when they were failing’

    Surely that’s a perfect definition of the philosophy of the TUV – wanting to go back to things that did not work rather than moving into a new and promising era of progress and stability.

    And leave it to the Allisterites to try to revise history. For those who may have forgotten, it was the TUV which was humiliated when it lost its European seat last year to the DUP. A defiant speech in his failure is no substitute for the seat Allister had expected to keep. In fact, the TUV has yet to win even one election at any level of government! Maybe they should learn the lesson of the British generals and catch themselves on and change with the times.

  • Munsterview

    amanfromMars on Mar 27, 2010 @ 09:58 AM

    Good article, thanks for reference. Essential reading re war material profits. Any like U.K. study, I am currently working on a WW1 project and it would help with some of the economic factors involved.