Dawn Purvis moves on…

Dawn Purvis emerged from a school of political thinking in Loyalism fostered by Gusty Spence and promoted by the late PUP leader David Ervine. Miss Purvis, just like her mentors is a rare commodity in Unionism in the sense that she doesn’t patronise working class protestants. And she has a sharp  instinct for what is correct for her community.

She has been exceptional in holding out against the status quo thinking on education in the broad Unionist leadership. She recognises, unlike most Unionist politicians, the fact that there is no pathway out in the  least privileged areas of Protestantism where only a handful of eleven year olds make it into grammar schools.

She is a strong feminist with liberal instincts. This again marks her out from a male dominated Unionist hegemony. She didn’t hang about when she felt strongly about something.

On Tuesday she went straight to the most senior UVF leader and put her cards on the table over the killing of Bobby Moffett on the Shankill Road. This killing did not sit easily on her shoulders and she delivered her message in no uncertain way in relinquishing herself of the PUP leadership.

She is generally well regarded and liked by all sides in politics in the Assembly. As a mature student Miss Purvis distinguished herself academically on graduation. She is staying on in the Assembly as an independent.

She took over as  leader of the PUP three and a half years ago when David Ervine died after a short illness.

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  • fitzjameshorse1745

    What sycophantic nonsense.
    “this killing did not sit easily on her shoulders”.
    Presumably other killings troubled her less.
    As I say on another thread but worth saying here.
    If you lead a party linked to violence and win 27 Assembly seats and your Party gets more votes than any other Party, journalists will scorn your mandate and consider you a very baaaaaaaaad person.
    If on the other hand you only get one seat and dont stand for election in 2010 you are the “authentic voice of working class Protestantism”. And a liberal minded feminist to boot.Nonsense.
    Staying on in Politics. Well of course she might be head hunted…Alliance? But reasonable enouh to assume that she has a better chance of holding her seat as an Independent than a PUP person.
    Or she could name her own Quango.

  • Stephen Blacker

    This is part of a speech that can be found in the Linenhall Library which was taken from the book “Uncharted Waters” by Henry Sinerton on the life of David Ervine.

    Long Kesh 12th July 1977.

    We never tire of celebrating the advent in history when William of Orange achieved for us in 1690 Civil and Religious freedom. We, the Protestants of Ireland, were the persecuted in those days and now things are somewhat reversed. But is persecution necessary for the establishment of the inherent freedoms of mankind? Has persecution ever changed a person’s views? Do we really want freedom and the pursuit of happiness at the expense of some other unfortunate soul?…I submit that it is fear which makes one people oppress another…We are living in the most socially and legalistically oppressive society in the Western Hemisphere…Polarisation complete with one section of the community cut off from the other except for some middle-class contacts which appear to be more concerned about their class than community…WE are a police state with the accompanying allegations of torture and degrading treatment to suspects undergoing interrogation…Even yet we still have men nonsensically counselling that victory is just around the corner. Victory over whom – the IRA? Or do they mean victory over the Roman Catholic community?…The fears of Roman Catholics will not go away because bigoted Unionist politicians say so.

    We in Northern Ireland are plagued with super-loyalists…If one does not agree with their bigoted and fascist views then one is a ‘taig-lover’, or a ‘communist’…Unfortunately, we have too many of these people in our own ranks. No fascist or bigot can expect sympathy or understanding in the UVF compounds…The sooner we realise that our trust has been abused, and the so-called political leadership we followed was simply a figment the sooner we will attempt to fend for ourselves politically and to commence articulation in that direction…ours was a sick society long before the fighting men came on the scene. Life in Ulster before the troubles was artificial…We want employment and decent homes like all human beings, and Loyalists will no longer suffer their deprivation stoically lest their outcries be interpreted as disloyalty…The politicians seemingly cannot or will not give us the peace we so earnestly desire, so I therefore call upon all the paramilitaries to call a universal ceasefire. To open up dialogue with each other in order to pursue ways and means of making such a ceasefire permanent. Eventually Loyalist and Republican must sit down together for the good of our country. Dialogue will have to come about sometime, so why not now? There is no victory in Ulster, not for the IRA, or the UVF, the police or the army. There is only victory for humanity and common sense.

    Gusty Spence

    It is words like this that inspired Dawn Purvis and others to follow the road of the PUP. It is a crying shame that some people cant or wont move along with them, they have been given enough chances.

  • Mick Fealty

    Just who are you referencing there FJH? Eamonn? If so, then I think you need to re-examine your ‘sources’.

    If on the other hand it’s your own ‘inner journalist’, then surely you are merely externalising an esoteric version of reality in which case – though I hate to say it – it was hardly worth your while (or ours) writing that all out.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    I hope I have no “inner journalist”. I dont have enough “ethics” to be a journalist.
    The sycophantic nonsense I referred to was indeed Mr Mallies piece. The source was right in front of me.
    The journalistic sources for downgrading Adams and SF-IRA are all over Slugger.
    Somehow with one seat in East Belfast, Ms Purves is an authentic voice of working class Protestants.
    But with five seats in West Belfast, SF-IRA are not an authentic voice of working class Catholics.
    Shome mistake shurely.

  • There is absolutely no chance of anyone else saying it, so I’ll try:

    That was then. This is now.

    A lot of lessons were learned from the bad times. Among the fringe Unionists, Ervine and Spence were prime students. A large plurality of elected representatives in the Assembly and local government have well-skeletoned cupboard.

    If we are going to move on in the present generation we have to accept and forget in equal quantities.

    Dawn Purvis, by any comparison, is a “clean skin”.

    She deserves respect.

    As President Jed Bartlet would say on such occasions, “What’s next?”