Social attitudes within the DUP beginning to drift towards social liberalism?

Now this is interesting. Eamonn McCann picks out some telling indicators from Lucid Talks conference poll at the DUP meet up at the weekend:

In relation to more earthly issues, the attitudes were markedly more progressive than the DUP is generally given credit for.

One in eight believed that, ‘Abortion should be available to any woman who chooses it after being counselled on alternatives’ – the exact position of Alliance for Choice and other pro-choice campaigners.

Almost two out of three (64%) believed that, ‘Abortion should be available for rape, or incest, victims who choose it after counselling.’ So, only one in three embraced the position of organisations such as Precious Life.

I suspect that a poll of elected reps would not return quite such a liberal response. Like Sinn Fein, the social mores of the top table are not shared in the same proportions by party activists, and likely even less so by society at large.

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  • GoldenFleece

    Is there a case to be made that lots of people in the DUP and SF would not be in those parties if not for the orange/green politics? Hence why activists opinions are out of sync with non orange/green issues.

    Maybe that’s why the DUP and SF play up to the orange/green divide, for their own survival if nothing else.

    The normalisation of politics needs to emerge here or NI will always be on the precipice.

  • Caoimhín


    That pretty much sums up my attitude to politics in Ireland. But for partition I probably wouldn’t vote Sinn Féin.

    Regarding your desire to see the “normalisation” of politics here, I’d say that it’s probably wishful thinking… at least until the abnormal situation in this country has been resolved. That will only happen in a permanent way with national reconciliation and reunification. I can think of no other way to finally put the whole rotten, centuries old fight behind us. The abnormal status quo will always cause uncertainty and instability.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Lucid Talk is the stupidest false hero bandwagon the local media have jumped upon. Surveying 50 people, wow big deal!

  • Drumlins Rock

    I don’t think it was the liberals who gave Poots the massive cheer during the leaders speech….
    but they are certainly interesting opinions which would shock many in the traditional wing.

  • Old Mortality

    Even though the DUP adopts a robust opposition to abortion, I don’t believe it’s a major issue among fundamentalists, For many of them, the greater sin is being in a position to want an abortion, presuming that is almostly always the consequence of ‘immorality’ which is common code in that milieu for engaging in sex outside marriage.
    Any opposition to abortion would also be tempered by the fact that local pro-Life militants tend to be Catholic zealots: no Free Presbyterian would want to be seen outside the Marie Stopes office mingling with rosary rattlers.

  • Comrade Stalin

    That pretty much sums up my attitude to politics in Ireland. But for partition I probably wouldn’t vote Sinn Féin.

    Your attitude is part of the problem. You’re voting for a party you don’t believe in, over an issue the party has no control over.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Not surprised there are relatively socially liberal people in the DUP. A populist party will adjust to match the changes in society.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Limited “liberalism” sets out to exclude the so called fundamentalist DUP, often favouring a bias with their own views being more majoritarian than the self viewed lies presented in the mandates of democracy. Perhaps maybe a DUP “liberal” is a heck of a lot more liberal than a Slugger O’Toole “liberal” both in the view of liberties given and liberties taken?

  • South Belfast Hack

    Firstly I didn’t see the survey being carried out when I was at the conference, how many did they survey? Did I just miss them.

    Second Old Mortality the Free Presbyterians did indeed associate with the rosary rattlers at a protest outside Marie stopes only last year.