DUP confusion on First Minister post?

Until recently the DUP has played down the danger of Martin McGuinness becoming First Minister. They had suggested that this election was not about such things but about the economy, jobs etc. and have recently listed their “40 achievements in 4 years.” Last year Ian Paisley seemed less than worried by the prospect of Martin McGuinness as First Minister. Now, however, Peter Robinson has announced that who gets the First Ministership is a matter of vital importance and that the First Minister should be a unionist. There is a DUP press release covering this issue amongst others here on the DUP website. This completely reverses Peter Weir’s claims here also on the DUP website that the issue is simply scaremongering from Jim Allister (hopefully someone in Dundella Avenue will remove the unfortunate web page soon).

This strategy was always predictable. The DUP failed to make any attempt to change the St Andrew’s Act which changed the rules so that the largest party chose the First Minister rather than the largest party of the largest designation (Jim Allister covers the issue in detail here). Until recently the DUP denied that they would use the issue as a threat to try to coerce unionists into voting DUP. Now, however, when election fever is in the air the strategy seems very different.

Update
As requested by Drumlins Rock below I have copied Jim Allister’s comments on the changes to the First Minsiter legislation (sorry it is a bit long but it is very detailed):

Under the Belfast Agreement the First Minister and deputy First Minister were elected jointly on a cross-community vote, thus affording Unionism and Nationalism a veto, whereby Unionists could insist on the First Minister coming from the biggest tradition.

The legislation flowing from St Andrews changed this and provided that instead the First Minister would come from the biggest party, thus opening the door to a Sinn Fein First Minister being foisted on a Unionist majority in the Assembly. The Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Bill was only introduced by the government after its contents were settled at secret proximity talks between the DUP and Sinn Fein in London in November 2006, talks from which any possible dissenters within the DUP were excluded.

Peter Robinson’s fingerprints are all over this legislative change because he thought it would be terribly clever to have the threat of a Sinn Fein First Minister as a means of coercing unionists into voting DUP. But, the real test of the DUP’s attitude to this dastardly change is found in what they said and did when Parliament debated the Bill.

Jim Allister, then a DUP Party Officer, had exposed the danger with this statement on 17 November 2006:

MEP comments on St. Andrews Bill
Comment from DUP MEP Jim Allister on the St. Andrews Bill 17 November 2006
“The St Andrews Bill contains a political bombshell for Unionism. Bad as it was, the Belfast Agreement, at least, guaranteed that a unionist majority in the Assembly would
always result in a Unionist First Minister. This Bill changes that (clause 8). It now affords the prize of the top office to the Party with the most seats. Thus, in future, we could have a Sinn Fein First Minister, in spite of a Unionist majority in the House, if they were the party with the greatest number of seats.

This is monstrous and a gross affront to democracy. I cannot comprehend how any Unionist could, in consequence, regard this Bill, quite apart from its other deficiencies, as a suitable route to acceptable devolution. The ticking time bomb of a Sinn Fein First Minister being foisted on a Unionist Assembly, is something which should unite every Unionist in opposition. I trust it will.”

Sadly, when the Bill came before Parliament not one DUP MP spoke out against this change. Here are the facts:-

1. Debate in the Commons on 21st November 2006 was deliberately curtailed by a business motion which restricted debate to 6 hours. This business motion was nodded
through with no objection from the DUP.

2. There was an opportunity to force a vote on the Bill at the end of the 2nd reading, but the DUP did not do so. Moreover, though several DUP MPs spoke during the 2nd reading debate not one of them uttered even one word of objection to the change over the First Ministership!

3. Likewise, after the committee stage the Bill was given its 3rd reading on the nod, again without a single DUP objection. There was ample opportunity to force a vote against
the Bill, given its inclusion of this obnoxious change within Clause 8, but the opportunity deliberately was not taken. Why? Because clearly the DUP MPs were content with
the change.

4. In preparation for the committee stage MPs had the opportunity to table amendments to each and every clause, but no DUP MP tabled any amendment to the infamous
Clause 8, signifying their contentment with its contents.

5. When the Bill went to the House of Lords on 22nd November 2006 an UUP amendment to remove the provision whereby the First Minister would come from the biggest party
was debated and voted upon. Whereas two DUP peers, Lords Morrow and Browne (Baroness Paisley absent) voted in favour of the amendment, when that vote was lost
and the original and objectionable Clause 8 was voted upon, the DUP peers voted in favour of it, while UUP peers voted against. Thus, in the House of Lords DUP peers
actually voted in favour of the Clause in the Bill which permits Martin McGuinness to become First Minister!

So, it is crystal clear that the DUP was complicit in permitting the legislative change which allows McGuinness to be foisted as First Minister on a Unionist majority in the Assembly. How the DUP sold the Unionist title deeds to the office of First Minister is one of the most shameful escapades of roll-over unionism.

So, when in a future election the DUP tries to play the fear card over their partner becoming First Minister, their hypocrisy will be vigorously exposed and they will be reminded that they were complicit and desirous of this appalling change. There is no point in pretending outrage over McGuinness switching into Peter’s seat, when it was Peter himself which thought this change in the law so politically expedient.

So, when in a future election the DUP tries to play the fear card over their partner becoming First Minister, their hypocrisy will be vigorously exposed and they will be reminded that they were complicit and desirous of this appalling change. There is no point in pretending outrage over McGuinness switching into Peter’s seat, when it was Peter himself which thought this change in the law so politically expedient.

But this issue throws up questions the DUP must answer. Not just the question, every time the DUP raises the spectre, of why not one of their MPs voted against it, but will they serve under McGuinness? Is their love of power, any power, so great that they will subject themselves and Unionism to such humiliation? Principle will never save us from the DUP propping up IRA/Sinn Fein in government, but maybe pride will.

But this issue throws up questions the DUP must answer. Not just the question, every time the DUP raises the spectre, of why not one of their MPs voted against it, but will they serve under McGuinness? Is their love of power, any power, so great that they will subject themselves and Unionism to such humiliation? Principle will never save us from the DUP propping up IRA/Sinn Fein in government, but maybe pride will.

For Commons debate see here

For Lords debate see here

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  • nightrider

    Did the DUP list their ‘achievement’ of doubling unemployment in NI during the last 4 years, and still going up

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-13060173

    Well done Arlene..

  • Drumlins Rock

    Peter Robinson has been planning this ever since he slipped the changes into the St Andrews agreement, good on him for pulling it off just as he planned all along, but shame on the media if they let him get away with it, it is a con of the crudest form, and sadly people are falling for it.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Turgon, just read Jim Allister’s “insiders view” from the time, I think I is important enough to be included in full on here in its own right, can you check it ok to post it in full?

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    The problem with highlighting the issue for the other Unionists parties is that although the Unionist electorare may well realise that Robbo “slipped the changes into the St Andrews agreement” the only sure fire way for a favourable outcome for Unionism on this issue ‘of vital importance’ is to vote for the DUP.

    The DUP have scuppered one of the Unionist ships and then offered to rescue the survivors – and of course – most will avail.

  • Obelisk

    So with the dissidents causing mayhem, unemployment figures up and a raft of other problems, this is a serious issue?

    As everyone is pointing out this was the DUP plan all along from as far back as 2006 but not that I see the plan in action it just looks utterly ridiculous.

    And the worst thing is this will repeat EVERY election cycle from now onwards. And the election cycle where Sinn Fein DO overtake the DUP and clinch the First Minister’s post will be all the more psychologically devastating given that this will be hammered home in the coming years about how important it is for Unionism.

    They really should just do us all a favour, grow up and name both Joint First Ministers as a reflection of reality rather than allowing this fantasy to be replayed every four years.

  • Drumlins Rock

    The other option is to punish the DUP by not voting for them and if the “manufactured crisis” happens, the more honest DUP members defect to the UUP to make it the largest party! The issue is highly unlikely to occur this time round anyways, it is a cheap stunt and is only working because the media has played along with it to date.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    SF should trade this for something worthwhile – Unionism has a habt of doing deals for things that are totally useles e.g. Articles 2 and 3.

  • Nordie Northsider

    Sammy wrote: Unionism has a habt of doing deals for things that are totally useles e.g. Articles 2 and 3.

    I see what you mean, but you’d be suprised how often the now extinct articles pop up in discourse in Dublin. The Sunday Indo school of journalism often cites their disappearance as ‘proof’ of how the United Ireland project has been abandoned.

  • Kadfoomsa

    I agree with NN.

    In the Irish of official Ireland and the media, Ireland = 26 Counties, and amazingly seems to have been back dated even before partition.

    It is protrayed as the end of any future prospect of a United Ireland.

    Despite the fact that the two article still exist in a different form, the loss of the originals are used to cast out Irish people in the six counties from the Irish nation.

  • Turgon, when ‘when election fever is in the air’ in North Antrim, Sam McBride reports that the DUP is turning to prayer:

    “The most important thing any of us can do [is] pray for our candidates every day. We also have organised the following prayer meetings – one in Ballymena, one in Ballymoney.”

  • iluvni

    Has Robinson made a million out of dedicated ‘public service’ yet?

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Dont want to go down the sidings too far.

    …but Articles 2 and 3 were aspriational and their is now de-facto joint rule on political developments as witnessed by the Irish government presence at STA talks, mandatory cross border minsterial meetings, the repeal of the Govt of Ireland act.

    ..and of course capital spending by the Irish government on Northern projects.

    Not sure what we lost by ditching them?

  • Dewi

    From Allister
    “…In a wholly disingenuous attempt to wash their hands of the change which they facilitated, the DUP now pathetically say, ‘oh, the Government didn’t faithfully implement what was agreed at St Andrews’! Obtaining DUP consent to the process was so pivotal that the Bill could not have proceeded without DUP acquiescence. If the DUP had said ‘if this change is in, we’re out’, the change could not have been made and McGuinness could never be First Minister.
    Allowing McGuinness to be put upon a unionist majority in the Assembly is not an outworking of democracy, it is an outrage of monumental proportions.
    I am glad that, despite the anger which it brought upon me from the DUP leadership, I exposed and publicly opposed, from the moment the Bill was published, this monstrous clause which empowers an IRA commander to be First Minister. This I will continue to do.”

    Fair enough – but what happens when / if nationalism becomes the biggest designation?

  • Big Maggie

    Nevin,

    “Sam McBride reports that the DUP is turning to prayer.”

    Prayer LOL!

    I loved the inimitable Christopher Hitchens’s take on this very thing:

    “There have been various studies, he says, on whether or not intercessionary prayer works. ‘And one is not surprised to find they don’t.’ On the contrary, the most comprehensive study concluded that it could even have a detrimental effect, causing those who knew they were being prayed for to become depressed when they didn’t get better, ‘because they thought they were letting the side down’.”

    DUPers take note 🙂

  • JR

    “Fair enough – but what happens when / if nationalism becomes the biggest designation?”

    Well thats game over is it not?

  • JR It shows how rattled the DUP are at the increasingly short their time is in advantage before both party and group flipover takes effect. They’re desperate to keep it while they still can.

  • Obelisk

    Maybe not JR. Remember the Unicorns who apparently never vote but instead lurk in the local garden centre? If the one side is more engaged and more of them vote you could end up with the paradoxical situation of a Nationalist majority in the Assembly with a public Unionist majority.

  • Drumlins Rock

    don’t forget the “others” (key the spooky music)

  • Neil

    you could end up with the paradoxical situation of a Nationalist majority in the Assembly with a public Unionist majority.

    At what point would it not be surprising? I mean in terms of Catholic:Protestant divide the difference is less than 10%, if it were 51% Unionist:49% Nationalist and then you have half a dozen Unionist parties for the various different hues of Unionism (from TUV never, never, never through the UUS to the DUP) it’s hardly surprising at all.

    Catholics now represent 40.3% of the population to about 45% Protestant and a number of not stated. Then as you say you have voter apathy playing it’s part. It should not be surprising at this point, with numbers running at less than 5% religious difference to see a Nat FM.

    Kind of like in England, Scotland and Wales, where the majoriy of people voted for left wing parties and got a Tory government.

    But it seems to me to be a bit of a hangover from the good ole days where the Unionist government could engineer a Unionist majority even where there was none. Some folk still feel that complete electoral success is a God given right for the lost tribe.

  • ‘….that complete electoral success is a god given right….’
    Yes, Neil. And Robinson doesn’t seem to mind who knows it as he stated yesterday that ‘First Minister MUST be a unionist’ so demographic changes count for nothing for this ‘democrat’.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    A question that Mick has previously highlighted is how and at whose request did this clause actually get into the bill?

    I presumed or perphaps read elsewhere on Jimbo’s site that the DUP had actually given birth to this clause? Perhaps SF wanted it and the DUP did a trade?

    It is a bit strange that Jimbo has not got the full inside story.

  • Obelisk

    The problem is that as an issue its truly ridiculous. But what I don’t like is that they are simply setting in motion a crisis a few years down the road. If they make it an issue the Unionist community REALLY cares about, then when it is inevitably lost it’s going to cause a storm we can really do without.

  • JR

    While it is essentially meaningless in any practical sense, symbollic it is a milestone which Nationalism must pass on it’s road to a UI.

  • Tomas Gorman

    The basic premise of this article Turgon is that McGuinness being first minister is somehow disastrous for the union. On top of the fact that it’s pretty much the same job he has now as DFM, the fact of the matter is that the constitutional position will not be altered one iota. Visible between the lines of your piece is the ugly face of insecure absolutism.

    At a time when people are facing increasing economic uncertainty, this really is the TUV’s electoral storm in it’s belligerent little teacup.

  • Neil

    Joint FM posts would be the sensible option. The only people holding out against that appear to be the DUP, which does make me wonder if there’s some truth in the suggestion that the DUP installed this ‘clever device’ to scare the shit out of their electorate some election time.

    If that were true what would that mean? The DUP are sneaky as fk? Probably yes. Would the DUP voter be annoyed about this?

  • Drumlins Rock

    “Days earlier the shape and content of the Bill had been negotiated at secret proximity talks in London between HMG, the DUP and Sinn Fein. Those talks, which spanned two days, followed another remarkable DUP Officers meeting.”
    Sammy this is from Jimbo’s article, the link is well worth the read, and I think Neil has it about right. Tomas this is not a TUV storm in a tea cup, it is purely of DUP manufacturer.

  • andnowwhat

    Can someone please remind me again what the “D” in DUP stands for.

    I thought I knew but I seem to have been mistaken.

    Have they not considered the message this sends to moderate nationalists? Hell, it may even make such people change to voting SF rather than SDLP or Alliance.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Duplicitous

  • Politico68

    It’s perfectly typical and painfully consistent that during any Irish electoral campaign (North or South) there is the inevitability that the real issues are clouded by ridiculous arguments concerning nonsense. Any educated Unionist can see that their majority is falling away; in fact the under 35 age cohort is already of majority Nationalist Background. Let’s give Unionist voters a bit of credit even if their political leaders insist on swimming in hysterical slush. The current demographic trend shows no sign of abating and as such the whole argument of where the FM/DFM is going to come from is redundant. Unionist voters I believe are fully aware of the political demographic shift in motion and will adapt accordingly. They are weary of their leaders’ constant tendency to bask in manufactured panic and would prefer to focus on building a better life for themselves and their families. By the next election agreement will have been reached to share the stature and responsibilities of the office, end of!

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Drumlin’s Rock,

    “I have no doubt this shameful surrender of the unionist title deeds to the office of First Minister was made because the DUP leadership thought the threat of McGuinness as First Minister would be a tremendously ‘clever device’ whereby unionists could be coerced into voting DUP.”

    Yes, excellent stuff – that or something similar may have perhaps mistakenly led me to understand that Jimbo suggested that it was actually the DUPs idea.

    The origin of the idea in some ways is not that important except of course it might embarass the DUP further.

    In terms of Joint Office that has now a trade value for SF and the DUP – presumably having traded something in making it avialable to SF – will obvioulsy have to pay (a higher) price to get it partially back.

    …and what is perhaps amazing about Jimbo’s kick-and-tell story is that Deputy Dodsy and his ilk stayed on side with Robbo – who, love him or not, has done a fantastic job in keeping his party together despite incredible difficulties persoanlly, from SF threatening collapse and the 2 governments threatening southern papal influence.

    Leaving aside the first ministerial kerfuffle – the boy Robbo has most certainly done excellent.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Is their love of power, any power, so great that they will subject themselves and Unionism to such humiliation? Principle will never save us from the DUP propping up IRA/Sinn Fein in government, but maybe pride will.’

    As a bible thumping prod Turgon must have heard of that line from Proverbs 16:18

    ‘ Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.’

    Obviously doesn’t apply to Turgon or his TUV mates. But then much of what passes for so called Christianity in NI is just heavily disguised code for ‘I’m one of us and not one of them ‘ Looks like McGuiness may have a chance at FM after all . The problem with the fear card card is that playing it can have unintended consequences .

    Quoting Allister via Turgon

    ‘But this issue throws up questions the DUP must answer. Not just the question, every time the DUP raises the spectre, of why not one of their MPs voted against it, but will they serve under McGuinness? Is their love of power, any power, so great that they will subject themselves and Unionism to such humiliation’

    Or the above could be rephrased as follows not that it would ever occur to Allister or Turgon .

    The issue throws up questions that SF must answer. Will they serve under Robinson Is their love of power, any power, so great that they will subject themselves and Irish Republicanism to such humiliation.

    In appears that in the little world of Turgon and Allister only Unionists can be humiliated by sharing power with Republicans . It doesn’t occur to them that the reverse could also be the case .

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Greenflag,

    where exactly does Turgon express his own views on this?

  • Alias

    There isn’t any significant difference between the nomination process as it is set out in the Agreement, Bill, and Act.

    Here is the Agreement version:

    The Nominating Officer of the largest party in the largest designation in the Assembly shall make a nomination to the Assembly Presiding Officer for the post of First Minister. The Nominating Officer of the largest party in the second largest designation in the Assembly shall similarly nominate for the post of Deputy First Minister.

    Here is the Bill version:

    (4) The nominating officer of the largest political party of the largest political designation shall nominate a member of the Assembly to be the First Minister.
    (5) The nominating officer of the largest political party of the second largest political designation shall nominate a member of the Assembly to be the deputy First Minister.

    Here is the Act version:

    (4) The nominating officer of the largest political party of the largest political designation shall nominate a member of the Assembly to be the First Minister.
    (5) The nominating officer of the largest political party of the second largest political designation shall nominate a member of the Assembly to be the deputy First Minister.

    Jim Allister didn’t list the change in the method (from the Northern Ireland Act 1998) of appointing the First Minister as one of his “Negatives” even though it was stated clearly in the Agreement.

    It was only one month later that he seems to have noticed what he didn’t notice (or didn’t object to) one month before.

    At the end of the day, if unionists don’t bother to vote in sufficient numbers then that is a matter for unionists and not for government. It is right and proper that the largest political party in the largest designation in the Assembly should nominate the First Minister, and would be profoundly undemocratic if the majority was to be determined by reference to those who don’t vote as opposed to those who do.

    P.S. I’ve deleted the links since they seem to fall foul of the moderation filter.

  • Alias

    I’ll try it (again) with just one (relevant) link:

    Jim Allister didn’t list the change in the method (from the Northern Ireland Act 1998) of appointing the First Minister as one of his “Negatives” even though it was stated clearly in the Agreement.

    http://www.jimallister.org/default.asp?blogID=524

  • I kow what the D should stand for, ‘Demagogic, [if such a word exists]. The Ultimate demagogue used to be the party Lider Maximo

  • RyanAdams

    NI may soon have a catholic majority, but it is a FUNDAMENTAL ERROR by anybody who claims to know anything about politics here to suggest that is even close to a united Ireland. It simply isn’t. In fact I doubt Gerry, Martin & Co. will even live to see it.

    Demographics are reversing and and its fair to say its no longer religion which determines how many children a family has or indeed is likely to have. In fact, I know a catholic family from Fermanagh, one generation had 17 brothers and sisters. They, themselves have had 2 Children each on average, with some having none at all.

  • Alias

    True, RA, and it was always a red herring. The demograghics would change anyway if NI had a strong economy and attracted migrants in search of work. They were always too fickle for prediction a generation or two ahead.

  • Big Maggie

    RyanAdams,

    “In fact, I know a catholic family from Fermanagh, one generation had 17 brothers and sisters.”

    Jesus wept! There’s something obscene and primitive about a woman carrying and giving birth to seventeen children.

  • Alias

    “There’s something obscene and primitive about a woman carrying and giving birth to seventeen children.”

    Unless they all have different fathers, and then its social progress.

  • Big Maggie

    Alias,

    “Spoken” like a person who’s carried and given birth to sprogs.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Big Maggie,

    “Jesus wept! There’s something obscene and primitive about a woman carrying and giving birth to seventeen children.”

    Surely the Holy Father in Rome is the best judge of that.

  • There is more than one way of looking at the DUP’s conduct. You can say that it was, as you say, Turgon

    “one of the most shameful escapades of roll-over unionism”

    On the other hand, you could regard it with a sneaking admiration. After all, the job of a politician is to shaft its opponent. Gordon Brown, seeing a hung parliament in the offering tried to do just that to the Conservatives by introducing a referendum on AV in the Labour manifesto. That gambit almost worked and it forced the Conservatives to concede a referendum on AV to get the Lib Dems into coalition with them.

    The DUP ‘s conduct in relation to the St Andrews Act could go down in Northern Ireland political history as a brilliant piece of political snooker.

  • Driftwood

    West of the Bann might be ‘religious’ as west of Ireland (Republic) might be. But Belfast (and Dublin) are almost as secular as GB. Nobody under 50 believes religious bollocks. they might be ‘Irish’ or ‘British’ or ‘Northern Irish’ but they know the economic outlook and the Treasury subvention.
    The middle classes do and how much it matters as the brightest leave for GB and the Coleraine media studies graduates and the lumpenproles are stuck with a dearth of civil service non-jobs.
    And they know that votes to the sandpit assembly will not change things one bit.
    So here we all are…

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Seymour Major,

    “After all, the job of a politician is to shaft its opponent”.

    That, my good man, is the crucial difference – the DUP shafted their own community in the process and it is difficult to think of a comparitive manouvere in British politics.

    …its a bit like selling your granny on the quiet and then holding a public collection to get the money to pay the ransom to get her back.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Driftwood,

    “But Belfast (and Dublin) are almost as secular as GB.”

    The largest party in Ulster (the DUP) is populated by what might politely described as religious nutters and there is no other electorate in Western Europe or further afield that would return such quarefellahs often including a sprinkling of men of the cloth.

    The UUP is also led and populated with chaps who cheerlead religious intolerance festivities and who are in turn cheered on by the Plain Unionist People of Ulster who appear tol ike nothing better.

    Whatever you may wish to accuse the Plain Unionist People of Ulster of – being secular aint one of them.

  • Greenflag

    IWSMWDI,

    Sammy – I seem to recall Turgon being TUV and very much pro Allister which is of course his perfect right . Turgon may have changed his political stance since last year’s Westminster election but of this I’m unaware . If he has renounced his TUV ‘principles’ then good for him !

    Genesis 27:16

    The voice is the voice of Jacob but the hands are the hands of Esau.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Grenflag,

    “IWSMWDI”

    Alas, I have lost part of my moniker which was truncated in an unfortunate parsing accident in the Slugger Profile section.

    IWSM

    re. Turgon, just thought I’d mention he was just being the messenger.

  • tinman

    How is the principle of the First Minister being nominated by the largest party in the Assembly a ‘gross affront to democracy’? It seems to me to be rather like the way most democracies operate. It may have the potential to produce an outcome Mr Allister would dislike, but that does not make it undemocratic.

  • Driftwood

    It was sammy
    Yep, but the ‘growing’ demographic is not catholic or prod, It’s the young people who think Professor Richard Dawkins speaks sense while the ‘doctorates’ of the dup are err…, not exactly Oxbridge. And SF have rightly steered clear of the pedo priesthood, assuming them ‘old or very young people material’ , vote wise I mean *cough*.
    I know this from the students my partner teaches, they are generally Dawkins, with a few loony DUP and the odd(very odd) Catholic.
    Alliance actually look good to people who ‘cannot be bothered to vote’. Pity. But the seed is there.

  • USA

    Hmmm, largest party gets to elect the leader. That’s pretty much how it is done in democracies all over the free world.
    The DUP probably inserted this clause and that is why they didn’t oppose it when they had the chance. A “clever device” indeed, and a device that will eventually need the attention of the bomb disposal team. Could all keyholders please return to their premises?
    A collosal error on the part of the DUP.

  • Henry94

    Driftwood

    It’s the young people who think Professor Richard Dawkins speaks sense

    I bet that would be trumped by background when it comes to voting. As Garret FitzGerald once said for a religious conflict there is very little religion in the conflict. Sinn Fein activists are largely atheists in my experience.

  • Bigger Picture

    Turgon

    This is boring drivel that has been moaned about by you and the UUP long and hard and quite frankly it is unworthy of you but then again I suppose you don’t have to scratch far beneath the surface to see the venom or fear that actually the big TUV break through actually may not happen.

    Quite frankly I will be voting DUP but it isn’t because of Martin McGuinness (whom I don’t want to be FM in any event) but when coupled against the sheer uselessness of the UUP and TUV which includes people who would have welcomed Kristallnacht had they been living in the 1930’s…well it’s not a hard choice.

  • separatesix

    Turgon is never boring, he makes the best comments on slugger!