DUP outflanks UUP on #Haass

When he went into his fight with George Foreman in 1974, Muhammad Ali used a strategy now famously called ‘rope a dope.’ At its core it is basically give your opponent enough rope and they will hang themselves with it.

In Northern Ireland politics we have seen the equivalent of this today as the wiley old operators within the DUP have outfoxed their UUP rivals (again!). It’s not often I praise the DUP but like Sinn Fein with South Belfast in 2010, you have to give plaudits to such a masterstroke.

In their statement about Haass the party they were largely optimistic

While the final Haass document contains many propositions that the DUP can support and endorse there remain others that would neither be an improvement nor workable and would not help in resolving the problems they were crafted to solve.

We are satisfied that the broad architecture is capable of housing long-­term workable arrangements yet the detailed components as drafted, which would determine how those structures would operate, need much more work before they could function in the best interests of the community.

Robinson proposed the creation of a working group to keep going on these contentious issues with the final goal of implementing a workable deal as he vowed that his party were not prepared to ‘throw in the towel.’ Contrast this determined approach to that of Mike Nesbitt’s last night.

I realise a lot of this is just politics, but Nesbitt has fallen into the same trap that Tom Elliott did in 2011. That moment in the UTV election debate where Robinson was the cool, calm leader looking to make progress, while Elliott seemed to have a complaint for everything and a solution for nothing.

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  • redstar2011

    Surely Robbo will need to check with Jamie Bwyson before he can accept any deal. Really weak leadership as always

  • sectarianheadcount

    Ah yes, the working group ruse. Just hope the diary isn’t too crowded with all those meetings of the Unionist Forum, set up around the same time last year and which has achieved so much.

    Meanwhile SF enthusiasm for Haass continues. After all, Bobby didn’t just die for cross-border bodies with executive powers. He really wanted a Commission on Culture, Identity and Parades.

  • Charles_Gould

    As I expected, a statement that is constructive, strategic. and pragmatic.

    As with Policing and Justice, he says he is in agreement with the broad outline of the proposals, but much detail and safeguarding work needed. And, I expect, along the line, much on the “financial package” needed.

  • Tir Chonaill Gael

    “…but like Sinn Fein with South Belfast in 2010, you have to give plaudits to such a masterstroke.”

    I’d love to see you explain that one.

    And, in any case, you don’t actually explain exactly how the Official Unionists have been outflanked here: I’m not saying they haven’t been, but I don’t see you advancing any argument towards substantiating your claim.

  • Paulk

    Yeah redstar the largest party in the assembly is asking Willie and co. what they are allowed to do and what proposals to accept, DUP leading from the front as always!

    On the topic, is anyone surprised? Mike Nesbitt has continued in his role as the most inept and ill equipped unionist leader there ever was and considering the competition in the past thats some achievement.

  • David McCann

    Sinn Fein one was them pulling out of contesting a seat they were never going to win in order to get SDLP support in Fermanagh/S.Tyrone.

    UUP have been outflanked for the reason I have said at the bottom they look like whingers and moaners with no solution to any of the problems. This makes the DUP look like they are still willing to work while the UUP have been seen to walk away.

  • Tir Chonaill Gael

    “Sinn Fein one was them pulling out of contesting a seat they were never going to win in order to get SDLP support in Fermanagh/S.Tyrone.”

    I’m well aware of the facts: how was it a masterstroke?

    Your UUP argument is weak: the DUP / Orange Order look pathetic and obstinate – Nesbitt may be out of his depth, but he’s write to have a go at OFM/dFM.

  • Tir Chonaill Gael

    *right, now write.

  • Tir Chonaill Gael

    Jesus I give up, apologies.

  • megatron

    Just clicked on the BBC report detaling the UUP response….

    Basically they are saying Haas is unacceptable but it is up to SF and DUP to sort it out.

    To be fair I think they probably have a point there no? It shouldnt really be up to the UUP to show leadership should it? Basically robbo et al are trying to put everything on the long finger (working group) rather than show leadership and the media (and David above) are going to let him away with it while saying UUP are intransigent.

    Masterstroke indeed.

    PS the start of that bbc report reminds us again that the UUP has a 100 person executive. Poor Mike Nesbitt.

  • redstar2011

    Lets get this straight.

    Theres no hold up because of executive, Dup needing more time etc-

    Its 100% because Bwyson/Uvf have vetoed it.

    Thats the facts.

    Dress it up any way you wish but neither party will agree to anything on these issues without those thugs onboard

  • streetlegal

    The DUP will be more than happy to take the begging bowl to Downing Street for money to finance any number of ‘working groups’. But their essential ‘just keep talking and agree to nothing’ position will continue.

  • tacapall

    “But their essential ‘just keep talking and agree to nothing’ position will continue”

    What does anyone expect. Nationalism will always work towards unifying the people of Ireland and Unionism will always attempt to keep them divided they will forever thwart any move however mundane, towards that goal.

    No-one outflanked anyone the unionists are working as a unit, the DUP are simply setting the unionist agenda but all sides, Orange order, UVF, UDA, Protestant coalition, flaggers are all consulted and they all obviously agree on the way forward for unionism.

  • redstar2011

    Moreover, why do the Shinners not just negotiate directly with Bwyson/UVF?

    Its an insult to everyones intelligence to continue with the charade of talking to the Dup when they will agree to nothing without the backing of Bwyson/ UVF.

    Once again it shows to many of us Republicans what a sham and farce the current set up really is.

  • iluvni

    Surely it’s time Sinn Fein pulled the plug in the farce at Stormont.
    How much longer can they continue to be jerked around by Unionists?
    They have a plan B, don’t they? (Besides terrorism)

  • Son of Strongbow

    Some Irish nationalists have indeed worked hard at “unifying the people of Ireland”. Graveyards are full or Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter dispatched there by nationalist murder gangs.

    Btw why is it some nationalists appear unable to spell the name ‘Bryson’? Too English perhaps?

  • redstar2011

    Iluvini they are totally wasting their time up there- apart from collecting very nice salaries and their love for ministerial cars etc.

    Meanwhile back in the real world amongst the Republican community more and more can see them for what they are.

    The irony is because of the accelerating disconnect between Shinners and Republicans on the ground ( especially younger ones) they are becoming less and less able to be in a position to offer ” the compromises” their loyalist counterparts demand

  • redstar2011

    Strongbow I spell it the way Jamie pronounces it- take it up with him!!!!

  • blackie

    It would take less time to count those within unionism who dont take an anti catholic oath than those who do. Why does the media and law tolerate such blatant anti catholic bigotry from unionist politicians? Gerry Adams or Martin McGuinness would not get of so easy for taking an anti protestant oath.

  • Barry the Blender

    God the quality of slugger has fallen.

  • Son of Strongbow


    He has a speech impediment? And you’re mocking that?


  • David Crookes

    Roy Jenkins had to take abuse of the same kind. It’s not a big deal.

    Does anyone find it genuinely offensive that Willie and Jamie were briefed in great detail and in double-quick time? I’m fed up being governed by a two-headed and unelected version of Bébé Lilly.

  • socaire

    Maybe Bwyson is the Irish form. You know like the way that you can’t spell de Brún?

  • Son of Strongbow

    So now it’s argued that Jamie Bryson (the serial Union flag protestor) is using a made-up Irish version of his name?

    And shouldn’t it be O Muirgheasain if he’s going that way?

  • Charles_Gould

    I am not so sure the UUP were outflanked, it makes strategic sense for them to distance themselves from / oppose the FM/DFM.

  • socaire

    Sonny, you are just pretending, aren’t you?

  • sherdy

    The DUP may well be using the ‘rope a dope’ method to outflank the UUP.
    But what about the ordinary PUL in the street?
    With all the in-again out-again manoeuvres of these two parties and the constant niggling by the TUV how are they meant to know whether or which of their leaders are going in the right direction, or if not going in any direction is the best policy.
    Not only that but Nesbitt himself, with his 90% sure of a deal, no, its useless, leave it to FMDFM, doesn’t seem to know either. Possibly he needs a sat-nab with him to keep him on the right path, if there is one.
    And poor Wee Jimbo of the TUV has reason to feel aggrieved. He is an elected leader and MLA but he couldn’t get into the talks, whereas Big Merv of the OO was a guest of honour to make sure the DUP kept to the ordained path.
    Even Our Wullie and Jamie had direct access to the goings-on and were on speed-dial for consultations. Of course Wee Jimbo was annoyed.
    How in the name of God could such a dysfunctional bunch be expected to make progress on anything in this world?

  • ThomasMourne

    Has Mike Nesbitt been taking lessons from David Moyes in promising great things but delivering next to nothing. So much for the great leap forward under his ‘leadership’.

    The Unionist Party managed to get the Orange Order off its back [sort of] in 2005 but now it looks like it has turned full circle with the Order leading it by the nose.

    Sectarianism wins the day – again – to no-one’s great surprise.

    The DUP had the luxury of waiting until after the UUP response before giving us the benefit of its collective intellect, so it was not too difficult for it to ‘outfox’ its rivals.

  • cynic2

    Robbo has yet to learn (again) that there are problems in playing ‘follow the Mob’ as the French found in the 1790s

  • aquifer

    Nesbitt may think he is being ‘cute’ by trying to out DUP the DUP with his ultra Orange rejectionism, but with his lunge against law and good order he signals the death of Aul’ decency, the only political asset the UUP seemed ever to have.

    The only crime in politics is stupidity

    Rope a dope it is

    If Alliance can muster a few beardless chins in suits and a stiff line on public order they are home and dry.

  • Morpheus

    I don’t think there is a single person in NI who doubts that the Haass talks failed because the OO said so. If Robinson and Nesbit had any balls they would round up the non-members in both the DUP and UUP and form a new pro-UK party to rid themselves of the stranglehold which is pushing away the Catholic votes which will be needed in the future.

  • Red Lion

    I think most people in NI don’t really give a shit about the issues in Haass. What passes for political issues in NI has become an irrelevant sideshow while real things like benefits levels, the economy and public services are largely driven from London.

    Turn on the BBC NI News to be bemused, turn on BBC National news to see whats really going on in the world and how it might affect you.

    Funny that when something constructive was aired in Haass talks, like having a NI Flag, there was some engagement in a bit more of the NI population.

  • Charles_Gould

    Red lion
    There is either boredom, indifference, or actual hostility.

    There are numerous Quangos proposed in Hass7 that a lot of people I suspect will regard as a waste of energy and tax money. People are suspicious as to why SF want all tense opportunities for perpetrators to tell their “narratives” (aka bed-time stories).

    The past – leave that to historians.

    I suspect a lot of UUPVoters and potential voters are saying: Let’s allow the victims to record their experiences. Let’s work on their trauma. But flags parades past – why take on such an impossible set of issues that are best left alone.

    Just get on with the effective delivery of public services!

  • GEF

    Nesbitt may have a point in asking Robbo & Marty to explain themselves why was Haass invited to NI in the first place?

    So, why did OFMDFM invite Haass (an American) to solve the “Flag/Parades/past”problem here in Northern Ireland when he should be helping “Obama/US/Government” solve the US murder problem by their own citizens. For instance more murders happened in Chicago (4,797 Murders) in the last 10 years than happened in the 30 year 1968 to 1998 period of the NI troubles (3500 murders) Read evidence here:

    “Chicago murders top Afghanistan death toll”


  • I think that a major problem is that some politicians in N.I. , particularly the DUP, see everything as a zero sum game. So if they see S.F., for example, as being in favour of something, they immediately think that they are somehow being outwitted even though they can’t see a particular reason why that might be so.
    There is a complete refusal to consider that some changes could perhaps be a win-win situation for everyone. I can’t see that situation changing anytime soon because the DUP, knowing how they were able to out compete the UUP, without too much difficulty, are afraid that the same could happen to them by the likes of Bryson and Frazier. Quite simply put, they lack confidence and that may eventually be their unding. We badly need an Assembly election.

  • “While the final Haass document contains many propositions ..” .. Peter Robinson

    What a convoluted way of saying NO; it reads like a contribution from Sir Humphrey in a Yes Minister script.:)

  • streetlegal

    I was flicking through the TV channels last night and I saw Mike Nesbitt and Teresa Villiers together in the Big Brother house.

  • carl marks

    socaire (profile)

    7 January 2014 at 6:25 pm

    Maybe Bwyson is the Irish form. You know like the way that you can’t spell de Brún?
    LOL love it when his double standards are outed, and the concern for Jamie’s speech impediment from a poster who loves to get personal about themmuns, you couldn’t make SOS up (I do sometimes wonder if he is a SF plant) no sane person would open themselves and their politics to such ridicule by constantly coming up with such venomous double standards! But then if we look at Jamie and Willy, The fleggers and the OO maybe I’m wrong, perhaps the smug inaccurate uninformed bigot is really what unionism is all about.

  • Son of Strongbow

    Aw Carl, it’s 2014 and you’re still in the stalking game?

    Btw I’ve no difficulty spelling ‘de Brún as your newest internet buddy suggested (you do so love your little gangs don’t you? don’t have the wherewithal to stand up on your own then?). It’s just that I think you should leave makey-uppy names for play dates on the internet.

  • Kevsterino

    The Loyalist flag protesters have made their position so inflexible and predictable that it is impossible to address their concerns. They don’t appear to have thought through the consequences of their actions or their pronouncements of their goals. 1/3 of the Haass agenda never had a snowball’s chance in hell.

    As for the past, I think people have come to the conclusion that people are going to think what they prefer to think regarding those 30 years of mayhem. It might be 50 years before someone is able to cobble together some comprehensive history of that nightmare.

    Parades? Did they really need Haass for parades? Like Moses coming down from the mountain with “New Rules” for how to respect your neighbors?

    I still marvel at how supposed Unionists remain attached to a philosophy that makes their wee country ungovernable from within even an United Kingdom context. To have to fetch a couple of my countrymen to run these ‘talks’ is simply inexplicable.

    People who look at the way things are and believe the Union is forever astound me.

  • carl marks

    Son of Strongbow (profile)

    8 January 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Aw Carl, it’s 2014 and you’re still in the stalking game?

    Btw I’ve no difficulty spelling ‘de Brún as your newest internet buddy suggested (you do so love your little gangs don’t you? don’t have the wherewithal to stand up on your own then?). It’s just that I think you should leave makey-uppy names for play dates on the internet.

    Classic, has it all, mopery (stalking), paranoia (two people make an observation and it’s a gang)
    Nonsense mixed with primary school personal abuse, the can’t stand up on your own bit, really Walter.
    And the makey-uppy name thing is SOS your real name then? And did he not have a go at somebody for calling him Strongbow Og a little while ago?
    Plus he admits that he happily does with Shinners names what he gets outraged about when it’s done to wee Jamie, you really couldn’t make it up.

  • Son of Strongbow

    Aw Carl, back for more?

    Although I undertook with the Powers That Be not to feed you (too much like shooting fish in a barrel) I’m sure I can indulge myself just one more time.

    You shouldn’t be embarrassed that you’ve followed me around on Slugger. You’ve even name-checked me on threads that I’ve not even posted on.

    So bless, let it go.

    As to “is SOS your real name then”. As I noted in my 4:12 post makey-uppy names should be left on the internet. I’ll give you a by on that

    I am “outraged” over your support for another poster mocking a speech impediment? No, neither outraged or surprised. After all did you not ride in to support another pal who had referred to people (Prods again as I recall) as “mongs”?

    (Just to make it clear for you, ‘mongs’ is shorthand for ‘Mongols’. The use of which in the context it was employed is both racist to people from Mongolia (that’s a country btw), and to people with learning difficulties and other disabilities where it was once employed back in the dark ages to describe people with Down’s Syndrome.

    You’re right on one observation. I have total distain for Shinners and those who vote for the Murder Party.

    So as the song goes, “one out of three ain’t bad”.

  • SK

    “Maybe Bwyson is the Irish form. You know like the way that you can’t spell de Brún?”


  • Son of Strongbow

    This is starting to feel like a reunion. I’m getting that warm fuzzy feeling.

    Thanks for the hits bhoys, you’re way too kind.

    High Five ya’ll.

    (Ok mods, that’s me done.)

  • Neil

    Why not I’ll join.

    Son of Strongbow (profile) 26 August 2013 at 12:29 pm
    …..and just to reinforce the message in your final paragraph Harry along comes Kneel.

    Not annoying in the slightest I should point out. It lost it’s edge back in P1, but it does demonstrate a kind of dickheaded lack of respect.

  • märsta

    pwned 😐

  • Reader

    Neil: It lost it’s edge back in P1, but it does demonstrate a kind of dickheaded lack of respect.
    Is that also your comment on the Bryson/Bwyson issue?

  • Paulk[4.08] Even more puzzling about the UUP is that after deciding rightly that Tom Elliot should be stripped of the leadership of the party, then they make him chief negotiator. Nicely done,and how did they land themselves with Nesbitt as ‘leader’? Maybe Rab C Nesbitt would’ve made a better fist of it. The DUP are blessed indeed with the rivals they have in unionism.

  • David Crookes

    Not sure, Daniel. Jeffrey and Tom and Mervyn appear all to have been singing from the same ould-Orange-flute-and-TUV hymnsheet. Of course neither of us knows exactly what went on. We’d need to be Willie-and-Jamie to be in that state of informedness.

  • carl marks

    Reader (profile)

    9 January 2014 at 8:37 am

    Neil: It lost it’s edge back in P1, but it does demonstrate a kind of dickheaded lack of respect.
    Is that also your comment on the Bryson/Bwyson issue?

    At least SOS give you a like, thats something, ;-o

  • Reader

    carl marks: At least SOS give you a like, thats something, ;-o
    I thought my post fairly clearly valued consistency over hypocrisy. Then maybe it was possible that a nationalist poster on this thread feels the same way as me, though I have seen no other evidence of that so far.
    However, as SOS seems to go around pushing buttons, maybe it was him after all?

  • Tyler Durden

    Two fleas fighting over a dead dog!