Noisy DUP conference focuses on election and a one-sided understanding of respect and tolerance #dup14

dup dark squareThe DUP were in election mode at their annual conference this year. Gone was any outreach to soft unionist voters. Faced with a first-past-the-post election in May 2015, the DUP reverted to core values for core voters.

Attendance in the main hall of La Mon Hotel for Peter Robinson’s address was a little down on the previous couple of years: the seats were all taken but there were fewer people standing at the back. New members I’d noticed a few years ago were absent. The DUP meant business today and those attending looked like party workers and the more active members who were exhorted by several speakers to get out and spread the DUP message in the run up to the Westminster poll. They certainly knew how to clap and cheer and wave the provided Union flags.

Oh, and La Mon’s wifi held up all day. That’s a first for them at a DUP conference, and a welcome change from the Ramada’s outages at UUP and SDLP conferences earlier in the season.

There were plenty of “curry my yoghurt” jokes peppering speeches throughout the day. As the conference finished, one group seemed to pose for a photograph up near the stage replacing “say cheese” with “say curry my yoghurt” to get everyone to smile. [For once the press were fed soup and sandwiches at lunchtime rather than the usual curry and rice.]

Cup cakes from Ashers Bakery were on sale (£2 each). A video to support Ashers was shown just before the leader’s speech and buckets were held by stewards at the hall’s exits to take up an offering at the end of Peter Robinson’s speech as delegates headed out to lunch, to be split between Ashers legal fund and a forces’ charity.

Sammy WilsonSammy Wilson took up the culinary theme in his comedy slot speech on “Taking Responsible Decisions” late in the afternoon:

I don’t know whether they’re called tea cakes, cup cakes, fairy cakes or what kind of cakes they are. But I tell you one thing, I’ve a whole box of them. (cheers) Somebody said to me “given the size of you you’re nearly as big as Stephen Nolan – how can you possibly justify having a box of cupcakes?” Let me tell you every bite every crumb I will be striking a blow for democracy, for freedom of thought. And every bite I take I’ll be thinking and a good big bite out of the budget of the Equality Commission will be even better. (cheers) …

You may well be aware but not only are Ashers great bakers, but we have got our own master chef in this party. He started it off with a comment in the Assembly and people have wondered “what are the ingredients of a curried yoghurt?” (cheer) The whole country was talking about it and in fact we now have The Great Assembly Bakeoff as a result of it.

Sinn Féin came in and said “we will make something we are best at making – a chocolate bombe”. (laughs) Ice cream, Swiss roll, liqueur, white chocolate, you name it, it’s all in it. The taste is explosive, and I’ll tell you this and [in cookery books] one of the points it made was this: very delicate, and you’ve got to be careful how you handle it for it can go off very, very easily. I’d like to see it go off in some of the hands … (voice drops).

Of course, the Ulster Unionists were going to put one in as well. But every recipe they had was a recipe for disaster so they never even bothered. [Onto desserts] Jim Allister put in for very hot cross buns. (laughs) Told him that wasn’t a dessert, so he says a bitter lemon tart will do them won’t it. And of course, NI21 – or NI only 1 as they are now – McCallister wanted a strawberry split, the other boy wanted a banana spilt. They couldn’t agree so they just split. [emphasis added]

Peter Robinson referred to the death of Dr Paisley, his predecessor as DUP leader, while some other speakers also made their own tributes in passing. Ian Paisley Jnr mentioned his father in his own speech late in the afternoon. Opening the Saturday session of the conference, party chairman Lord Morrow noted:

Since our last conference a great man has left this scene of time and gone to his reward. Ian Paisley was a great man who lived a life devoted to God and Ulster. He founded our party; led us to some great and momentous victories and laid the foundation stones for Northern Ireland’s second century inside the United Kingdom … Ian Paisley was a great man because he was a servant of the people. I, along with tens of thousands of people throughout Northern Ireland am proud to have called him my friend.

Earlier in the morning, Gregory Campbell – MP and MLA – paid tribute to the party’s “founding father” Dr Paisley.

Much has been said, and written about Dr Paisley’s passing. Much of it does little justice to the great man he was and the great vision he had for our country.

Gregory went on to describe Sinn Féin’s United Ireland Project as being “in tatters” and “their dream of a 2016 united Ireland” as “now nothing short of an embarrassment”. On the current talks process be belittled Sinn Féin’s desires:

We have no doubt that Sinn Féin would love to get agreement to its republican wish list. They would love nothing more than to lull unionists into agreeing to costly projects such as a Bill of Rights, and their long demanded Irish language Act.

Sometimes you have to spell things out for the slow learners in Sinn Féin. Now some of us do it regularly and do it often. But we’re going to keep doing it. On behalf of this party we’ll say it sloooowly so you understand Caitriona [Ruane] and Gerry [Adams]. We will never agree to your Irish language Act. Do you understand? The paper that your wish list is written on, well, we just regard it as toilet paper.

You better get used to it because we are going to confront your agenda if you decide to try and further that agenda in the face of the majority community in this province.

Edwin Poots punchingNo direct attacks on Martin McGuinness, and unlike the SDLP conference, I didn’t spot the DUP scoring political points on Saturday using the case of Mairia Cahill.

The sound bite from Peter Robinson that I expect we’ll hear again and again over the coming months in the run up to the Westminster election and Gavin Robinson’s battle with Naomi Long will be his one sentence summation of all the DUP see as wrong with Alliance:

… the pro-Union opposition to the flag lowering, parade stopping, gay marriage supporting, pro water charging, holier than thou Alliance Party.

References to “respect and tolerance” were disappointingly empty and one-sided. The leading party doesn’t have the discipline to show leadership and act decently when there’s an election around the corner.

Perhaps the only exception that I can find to this conclusion is Jeffrey Donaldson’s address to conference, delivered before I arrived. In a speech entitled “Looking Forward, Looking Back”, the Lagan Valley MP marked the contribution of Ulster soldiers during WW1 in local regiments, as well as the Navy and RAF. He didn’t forget the role of women …

… who served with great courage, often in the most dangerous of circumstances. Women who tended to the wounded and dying; women who worked tirelessly on the home front to supply the armed forces with clothing, food, munitions and so much more. Women who held families together whilst the menfolk were off at the front and who bravely coped with the devastation that came when that fateful telegram arrived bringing news of the loss of husbands, fathers, brothers and sons.

Jeffrey also highlighted the contribution towards the war effort fro right across the island.

Whilst our focus today is on standing up for Northern Ireland, in the context of the first world war, we must also stand up for the men and women from the other provinces and counties on this island whose service and sacrifice was just as valiant. Men from the Dublin Fusiliers, The Leinster Regiment, The South Irish Horse, The Munster Fusiliers, The Royal Irish Regiment and the Connaught Rangers. Irish Volunteers from every corner of this island, many of them fervent nationalists who answered John Redmond’s call to arms and donned the uniform of the crown to serve in common cause with the Ulster Volunteers. Today we also salute their memory.

He noted that “people who might have differed greatly in their view of the future of this island put their shoulders to the same wheel in pursuit of a common cause”. The WW1 centenaries offer an opportunity to continue for shared remembrance. He listed artistic venues like “The Mac, the Braid, the Millennium Forum, the Lyric, countless community arts engagements, the wonderful Ulster Orchestra” calling them “essential and indispensable parts of our contemporary life” and places for overcoming discord in which “we can share and must learn about all the traditions, the well established and the newly emerging”.

If only the party leader had stolen a couple of pages from Jeffrey’s printer …

– – –

Peter Robinson shook hands and embraced party members in the audience as he entered the hall to strains of The Call / Let the Day Begin (his consistent conference anthem since 2011). His three piece blue suit made him look old-fashioned and chilly, with only a little of his blue and red tie and white shirt peeking out at the top. Like last year’s speech, gone were previous references to liberal legacy issues of sharing and reconciliation.

Peter Robinson dup14Of all the NI party leaders, Peter Robinson is the one who can read a script confidently off an autocue (with only a few fluffs), and deliver a well pitched speech, working the audience and timing each phrase and pause.

These are historic times. After decades on the fringes and in opposition, this party leads unionism and it leads the administration at Stormont and in six months’ time we could be critical to the formation of the national government as well.

It is only once in a generation that events and electoral arithmetic conspire to put unionists at the centre of politics, not just here in Northern Ireland, but the United Kingdom as a whole. Mr Chairman, we may be on the verge of just such a moment.

If I am sure of anything in politics, it is that this party is the only party to lead Northern Ireland through the challenges that lie ahead. In the past ten years, only this party has had the measure of dealing with the government, as well as dealing with nationalists and republicans.

There is no other party with the strength, the experience and the political acumen to succeed. We can all remember what it used to be like when republicans ran rings round the Ulster Unionist Party, but that’s all changed: the DUP’s in charge and we are here to stay.

The DUP leader promised a speech that would “explain why every vote and every seat will matter next May”. But first he congratulated “all those who were elected to the new super councils last May”.

Even though our poll-topping Assembly Members and MPs who had previously stood in council elections weren’t permitted to stand this time we came through the elections with more councillors than any other party and we remain Northern Ireland’s largest party in local government.

On the same day in the European election Diane Dodds secured a tremendous result. In May she was rewarded for her hard work with over 40,000 more votes than in 2009. Importantly, Diane also increased her percentage share of the vote as well. Diane came through a crowded field and emerged as the leading unionist candidate by a considerable margin. So, on behalf of this conference and our party let me say, well done Diane!

He said that “the issue that unites us above all others is our belief in the integrity of the United Kingdom”.

Who would have believed a few decades ago that the real threat to the break-up of the United Kingdom would come from Scotland and not from Northern Ireland? We very warmly welcome the democratic decision of the people of Scotland to maintain the Union and secure the United Kingdom for future generations …

Just a few years ago Sinn Fein’s President boasted there would be a united Ireland by 2016, but instead support for the Union is now even greater. Gerry, your day won’t come! [ad-libbing] Gregory will give you an Irish interpretation of that later.

Peter Robinson spoke about the hundredth anniversary of the start of the Great War and “the heroism of our troops, not just in the past but in the present as well”.

He described elections as “a choice … making a decision about which party and which candidate can help make life better”.

Sometimes politics can seem distant and remote. That’s not the case in Northern Ireland. Making politics work means ensuring the peace we have is sustained. It means tapping into the potential for prosperity that has been building up for years. It means trying to achieve reconciliation between our communities.

Oddly not asserting “It means achieving reconciliation” but the more passive “It means trying to achieve reconciliation”.

It means creating a shared society where the culture of every tradition is treated and respected and given tolerance.

Though this cultural respect seemed one-sided – particularly when you read Gregory Campbell’s comments on a possible Irish Language Act – and didn’t seem to extend to the use of Irish.

It means providing life opportunities that ensure that our children don’t have to leave our shores to make their lives or raise their families. It means protecting the fundamental rights and freedoms of all sections of our society and it means people being liberated from the fears and perils that blighted the lives of so many for so long.

Northern Ireland is a better place than it was ten or twenty years ago and – I tell you – it will be a better place still in ten years’ time. I’m proud of what we have achieved. Although we have more to do, the quality of life here has vastly improved. We are attracting global investment and international events in a way never contemplated before.

I want to see us building on that progress. Stormont has achieved much but it is not delivering on its full potential and it needs to be improved. Coming out of St Andrews we recognised that these arrangements could only be temporary and would need to be upgraded. We are involved in that process at present.

dup14 Peter Robinson speech wordleOn economic issues:

In September I said what everyone knew: the present institutions are no longer fit for purpose. We were not prepared to sleepwalk into financial catastrophe, but we wanted to face up to the real challenges that existed. That’s why we asked the government to convene talks so that these key issues could be settled. We set the agenda and others followed.

The primary and most essential function of government is to use available funds to provide the best possible services and facilities to the public while at the same time boosting employment and growing the economy. This must be done in the context of balancing the books. And there is no party better than the DUP at doing this. However, too often we are inhibited by other parties from achieving the very best of outcomes.

Under DUP leadership Northern Ireland has reduced its unemployment level to 6% and the claimant count has reduced for 22 consecutive months. Our “jobs created” totals are at an all-time high and not equalled anywhere else in the United Kingdom. Just look at the record we have at attracting Foreign Direct Investment. Just look at the number of jobs that have been created in recent times.

Our policies and strategy are working – recovery is underway. But, sadly people are not yet experiencing this recovery because at the same time we have a diminishing budget due to the spending cuts which are being imposed by the Treasury. Those reductions are likely to continue right up to and including 2020.

He spoke about rebalancing the economy:

To balance the books, while still protecting vital services, we need to reduce the size of our 212,000 strong public sector. And we are not talking about any compulsory redundancies. We are offering a voluntary exit scheme. However, in order to maintain and hopefully increase overall employment it becomes necessary, at the same time, to grow the private sector. And the only realistic way to do this is to reduce our level of Corporation Tax, encourage investment in the private sector with the consequent employment lift that you will get.

This process is known as rebalancing the economy. It’s what countless economists and politicians have, for years, been advising for the Northern Ireland economy. It’s our policy and it’s the only one that makes sense for the future.

So, whether, it is in relation to Corporation Tax, agreeing a Budget, or the talks process, the DUP is the party that is providing the solutions. In a few weeks’ time I hope that the Government will finally announce that we will be given the power to set our own rate of Corporation Tax. This would revolutionise our economy, it would create perhaps as much as 50,000 jobs and build prosperity for years to come.

The devolution of Corporation Tax was also supported by other parties when the process commenced. But as time passed, one by one, they gave up and fell by the wayside. Not because they didn’t want it to happen, but because they lacked the faith and resolve to make sure that it would. Oh yes! They have all returned to the fold now that positive movement can be seen, but only this party stuck with the campaign and refused to give up the cause.

When others lost their will and lost their way – the DUP kept going. When some said the powers wouldn’t be devolved or urged us to move to plan B we pressed on. It’s called DUP grit and determination!

There was a sideways reference to the TUV …

Mr Chairman, let’s take on the unionist begrudgers, those ones who tell you that we would be better off under Direct Rule. Just ask them, do they want to pay water charges, face 10% annual hikes in their Rate Bill and stand helpless while Direct Rule Ministers remove all the other financial advantages that Stormont has provided and Westminster does not.

And Mr Chairman, remind them that it was not one, but two Direct Rule administrations that were prepared to operate the scandalous OTR scheme behind our backs. And if they ever tell you we would be better off with Direct Rule Ministers, remind them how in the past it was those same Direct Rule Ministers who almost on a daily basis were making concessions to republicans.

That’s why it’s essential that devolution remains in place, but it has to be able to deliver for the people. We are also setting the agenda with the reform of Stormont structures. At a time when public services are being squeezed because of Westminster cuts, it is the view of this party that politicians should give a lead by downsizing the political structures as well.

For over a decade we have led calls for fewer government departments, fewer Assembly members, provision of an official opposition and new arrangements for the Executive and Assembly. Others have come late to these positions; some are even posing as if they had invented the policy.

I want to see a more normalised form of government at Stormont. The present devolved arrangements make decision-taking difficult and cumbersome and slow. We need to improve the mechanisms for decision-taking and remove blocking processes in order to allow the Assembly the ability to decide issues rather than having them vetoed in the Executive. At the end of the talks process we want to see a slimmed-down, lower-cost, smoother-operating, delivery-orientated and more democratic Stormont.

There was nearly a moment of déjà vu as the script returned to a previous point … before it was turned inward to talk about flags and parading.

At the core of past agreements was the central requirement that everyone respect and show tolerance for the culture and traditions of others. The violation of that central principle by Sinn Fein, the SDLP and the Alliance Party when they tore down the Union Flag at City Hall triggered a slump in working relations at Stormont. That breach was compounded by the failure of republicans to accept the right of Orangemen to complete a five minute walk to their own hall after a Twelfth of July parade. The DUP is bound together with other unionists in seeking to re-establish the right of assembly and procession for the Ligoniel and other Orangemen.

As we move forward the imperative must be to restore that essential, ‘respect and tolerance’ principle. There will be no resolution of the parading issue on any other basis.

Today, the DUP is the only party setting the political agenda in Northern Ireland. Sinn Fein’s focus is on the South. The SDLP and Ulster Unionist Party are focussed on survival. That’s why the DUP must set the pace. In the Assembly, in terms of Private Member’s Bills, it is our Assembly Members who are making the running.

long thin dup conference flag

A section of the speech addressing equality was frequently interrupted by applause.

I have become increasingly alarmed at the uneven pitch upon which rights and equality issues are played out. More and more the balance is tipped against people of faith. This has been recently demonstrated by the treatment meted out to the Ashers Baking Company.

I believe in freedom of conscience. There will often be competing rights and freedoms but, nobody should be compelled or coerced into supporting, sanctioning or promoting views or opinions which conflict with their strongly held religious convictions.

The publicly funded Equality Commission has launched an unjustified attack on a small Christian family business. This is simply bullying. I contend that the Equality Commission is seeking to use the Ashers case to add a further layer of restrictions on Christian behaviour and practice. Ashers are in the front line of this combat. We mustn’t leave them there to stand alone.

That’s why I am asking that a special collection be lifted at this conference to help them with their legal costs. Those who believe in freedom of conscience must stand strong and the must stand together. Now I’m not going to tell you much you have to put into the basket [Ed – buckets!] but when you fold your money it will be greatly appreciated in the legal battle ahead.

Our colleague Paul Givan will shortly be launching a consultation on a proposal to provide for a conscience clause in relation to aspects of equality legislation for those who have strongly held religious beliefs. As a general principle, I believe that people should be protected by law from discrimination, but that cannot mean that the sincerely held beliefs of Christians get trampled under-foot by everyone else. For that too is discrimination.

Party chairman Lord Morrow was thanked for “his herculean efforts” in the “mammoth task” of “bringing forward legislation on Human Trafficking and Exploitation” which “puts Northern Ireland at the forefront of the battle against modern slavery”.

I have absolutely no doubt that in the months and years to come there will be many who will owe their life and freedom to Maurice’s determination to see this Bill through. This Bill is not only testimony to Maurice’s ability to bring together a wide range of interests to support a common cause, and his preparedness to work for the greater good, but it demonstrates the Assembly working as it should and working at its best. It’s not every politician that is able to make a mark that will stand the test of time, but in bringing forward this Bill, Lord Morrow has secured his place in history.

We have also proposed a Bill, to introduce a pension for severely disabled victims of the terrorist campaign. These brave individuals and their families have suffered, and still continue to suffer, the dreadful legacy of violence. They did not have the same opportunities to work and contribute to pensions or National Insurance. This has placed many of them in financial hardship in their later years. The consultation on that Bill has finished and we are moving forward to introduce the legislation. It will provide a special pension for those who are most deserving of help. But conference, this Bill will explicitly exclude terrorists from receiving this pension support.

Petition of concern, anyone?

And then a section of the speech that emphasises the necessity of cooperation and compromise.

In recent times we have managed to approve a draft budget, advance the reform of local government and agree new structures for education. Here too, we have an example of political parties working together at Stormont, cutting deals and compromising in the best interests of the community as a whole. I believe if we could get the structures of government right then so much more could be achieved. That means being prepared to reach out in the spirit of compromise. It means taking the long view and seeing the bigger picture. It also means taking difficult decisions.

Those within unionism, who oppose the path upon which we have embarked, have nothing to offer. They complain more delivery is required from Stormont and at the very same time they argue that we shouldn’t co-operate with Sinn Fein. They seem incapable of recognising that the mathematics – never mind the structures at Stormont – means that there is no delivery unless such co-operation takes place. Of course we will oppose Sinn Fein when unionist interests require it. We have shown that we are tough and we are determined, but we will work with them and others when it’s in the interests of the community that we do so.

Even after difficult and contentious political times I want to build bridges. I want to build those bridges with political opponents for the benefit of the people of Northern Ireland, but I can’t build bridges from both sides.

[There was a bit of a debate in the press room over the civil engineering nuances of this last statement. I still reckon a drawbridge can be built from just one side …]

There can be no one-sided deals. There needs to be a serious willingness from republicans to engage and to compromise. If that exists, this party will not be found wanting. But we will never betray our principles or sign up to deals out of political expediency. That’s why we said “no” to the Haass proposals. They weren’t in the interests of unionism, nor where they weren’t in the interests of Northern Ireland.

Peter Robinson outlined how the DUP might use its power in Westminster after the 2015 General Election:

Mr Chairman, next year at the Westminster election, the question will be simple, “who can get the best deal for you and for Northern Ireland?” Sinn Féin talks tough but they don’t even take their seats at Westminster so they won’t be players when the national government is being formed.

The SDLP, because of its link to the Labour Party, have no cards to play. Their votes are already in Labour’s column without extracting any price. As for the Ulster Unionist Party, well, they’re not even on the Westminster radar!

However, the DUP’s record of getting the best deal regardless of who is in government is second to none. We worked with the last Labour government and we have worked with the present coalition in the interests of Northern Ireland. That’s real delivery. Delivery that helps the people, and not the interests of politicians.

That’s where we differ from our political opponents.

Five years ago the Ulster Unionist Party link with the Conservative Party was roundly rejected, leaving the Ulster Unionists without a single seat in Parliament. Yet, they had believed that that link would be the panacea to all their ills and would lead them back to Westminster in greater numbers.

How quickly they discarded the Tories after the election! Whereas once they lauded their relationship with the Conservative Party, today they prefer to pretend that it was all just an illusion. Well, they may want to forget it but I suspect there will be some of us who will make sure when any Ulster Unionist complains about cuts to public services they will be reminded that these are the cuts that they advocated during the last Westminster election campaign.

Their Minister, Danny Kennedy, has the barefaced effrontery to complain about the impact of the very budget cuts that he, as a Ulster Unionist Party candidate advocated in his party’s 2010 manifesto. He stands embarrassed – in the dark with the grass growing up to his knees – the victim of his own appalling judgement.

The Democratic Unionist Party got it right. But we are all in Northern Ireland paying the penalty for the Ulster Unionist Party getting it wrong.

A senior political commentator recently speculated that after the Westminster election the DUP could be in a powerful position. Listen to what he said, “They would exact a high price, but they could provide a pathway to power.”

The commentator was Mike Smithson who is a former Liberal Democrat politician, polling analyst and founder of the politicalbetting.com website where you’ll find the original comment in a post from 12 November.

There would be no DUP MPs looking for cabinet seats in a future coalition government.

So what test would we apply? Unlike the UUP four years’ ago, it’s not places in the Cabinet that we would seek. We ask for nothing for ourselves. We want outcomes that would benefit all of our people. We are not seeking to be part of any Government coalition, but, with an open mind, we are willing to sustain in office, a Government that offers policies and programmes that are in the best interests of Northern Ireland in particular, and the United Kingdom as a whole. We will be responsible in our approach, and we will use our influence wisely.

It’s still almost six months until the election and there is growing uncertainty about the outcome at a national level, but it is looking increasingly likely that no single party will be able to form an administration. Indeed it’s not even clear if any two parties could form a government. If that’s right, then every seat will count. A seat here or there could be the difference between providing a clear majority and falling just short. It could be just that close.

That’s why it is so important to not only retain our existing seats, but also seek an increase in our representation. This isn’t just an opportunity for the DUP, but for unionism as a whole. It would be a real tragedy if unionism lost out because of split votes and spoiler candidates.

It goes without saying – but I’ll say it anyway – I want to see all eight of our serving MPs re-elected and returned to Westminster.

And it will come as absolutely no surprise if I tell you that our number one target is to gain East Belfast. I want to see East Belfast back in the unionist column at Westminster. And there is only one unionist candidate who can win the seat and that’s my friend and colleague, Gavin Robinson.

Gavin’s a former Lord Mayor of the great city of Belfast, he has a proven track record of successfully delivering for the people of East Belfast. He is an outstanding, he is an exceptional candidate.

Now, everybody knows this election will be a simple choice in East Belfast between the Alliance Party and Gavin standing in the interests of unionism. That’s a decision the people of East Belfast will have to make. There may be other unionists in the field, but they would only serve to divide the pro-Union opposition to the flag lowering, parade stopping, gay marriage supporting, pro water charging, holier than thou Alliance Party.

Well that’s the election really started now!

But our ambitions will extend beyond East Belfast for gains. And I’m not opposed to extracting and entering into issues with other parties. I want to have an electoral pact in the interests of unionism and in order to maximise unionist representation at Westminster.

This party has a long and proud history of being prepared to put the interest of unionism ahead of its party ambitions. Across the Province we will have candidates asking for your support and your vote. The choice is clear. If you want a party that will stand up for Northern Ireland, if you want a party that will stand up for unionism, if you want a party that can deliver for you and your family then the DUP is the best option.

The prize at a Westminster election has never been greater. The DUP is not just the right choice to represent Northern Ireland; we are the only real choice. We are the best team. We have the strongest candidates. With a history of delivery and achievement as well as the experience and ability to succeed, the DUP is best placed to serve your interests. We will always put Northern Ireland first.

Just fourteen years ago this party had two Members of Parliament, today we have eight and after the election I want us to have even more. We didn’t get to where we are by sitting back and taking people for granted, but by working for every single vote. That’s what we must continue to do and always remember that every single vote does count.

Don’t forget that in 2010, Michelle Gildernew was elected to Westminster by just four votes. So when the canvass comes and you’re tired and you feel like packing up for the night, just knock one more door, or do one more street, because it could be the difference between victory and defeat and the difference between success and failure. It could be the difference between the DUP holding the balance of power at Westminster and narrowly missing out. The stakes couldn’t be higher; the opportunities couldn’t be greater. And as we go out from this conference let’s focus on the pivotal role that this party can play.

You can be sure that nationalists in Scotland will be doing all that they can to serve the interests of independence and of Scotland. We must do all that we can to make sure that the interests of unionism and Northern Ireland are served at Westminster. But we can only do that with a mandate from the people.

Peter Robinson made a single reference to the recently deceased former leader of the party.

The journey that this party started all those years ago continues. The greatest tribute we can pay to Ian, who set this course, is to complete the journey. The DUP grows from strength to strength. None of us could have foreseen what we’ve already achieved. The size and strength of this party was unimaginable a generation ago. But we are not done yet; the job isn’t finished. There is so much more to do and to achieve.

We will face unforeseen hurdles, and challenges, but we have the people and we have the talent to face the future with confidence. So next May with your help, let’s write the next chapter in our history. Let’s build on what we have already achieved, let’s strive to go even further. Let’s not only win, but deserve to win. And let’s send back to Westminster a team that will truly be standing up for Northern Ireland.

peter robinson dup after mediaThe speech ended, and after three cheers led by William McCrea and congratulations from elected representatives on the platform, Peter Robinson sat down in a chair and remained on stage while the hall emptied talking to a handful of people. One SDLP visitor down for the day from Derry even managed to get a selfie.

The DUP leader cut a withdrawn and nearly lonely figure, applauded by an audience of party members many of whom don’t expect to see Peter Robinson delivering the leader’s speech next November.

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  • Comrade Stalin

    As we move forward the imperative must be to restore that essential, ‘respect and tolerance’ principle.

    I suppose that’s what “curry my yoghurt” and references to toilet paper are.

    How stupid do these people think we all are ?

  • Niall Chapman

    “We have shown that we are tough and we are determined” – Truth Translation: We have shown that we are stubborn and we are ignorant”

  • dodrade99

    Perhaps Alan missed it but I think it only fair to point out that Peter Robinson paid tribute to Ian Paisley and James McClure in a specific address earlier in the morning where a moment’s silence was held, which is why there was only a passing reference in the main speech.

  • David

    The DUP are clearly relying on their core support of intolerance for the next election. Childish and ignorant dismissal of the Irish language may play well in the gallery but much less so with younger voters. And being conspicuously out of step with the rest of the UK on equal marriage, abortion and sex work merely shows a deeply unattractive intolerance towards those not on ‘morality as dictated by the DUP’ message. When/if the electorate begin voting on real issues rather than the border, certain parties will find themselves consigned to the dustbin of history.

  • chrisjones2

    ‘respect and tolerance’

    Respect for us and tolerance of graft?

  • Michael-Henry Mcivor

    The DUP are pinning their last hopes in being part of the new Westminster Government next year in which their party leader Peter Robinson can not be part of-
    Maybe this is the reason why the DUP members clapped so loudly on this issue-

    When the Irish language gets attacked those that love the Welsh language Ulster Scots etc squirm- but what do the DUP care when their own gets a laugh-( If the DUP get into the next Westminster government the Welsh Language etc will be their next targets )-

  • “References to “respect and tolerance” were disappointingly empty and one-sided. The leading party doesn’t have the discipline to show leadership and act decently when there’s an election around the corner”

    The “leading party” doesn’t have a majority. They don’t say what you wanted them to say in the teeth of an election? Ah, diddums.

    “There was a bit of a debate in the press room over the civil engineering nuances of this last statement. I still reckon a drawbridge can be built from just one side …”

    Are you mad? Here’s the ‘problematic’ paragraph..
    .

    Even after difficult and contentious political times I want to build bridges. I want to build those bridges with political opponents for the benefit of the people of Northern Ireland, but I can’t build bridges from both sides.

    Why would any party extend themselves to reach out to Sinn Féin given the way that party has behaved?

    Here’s the most recent example.

    Sinn Féin’s Conor Murphy, however, said the paper did not reflect or
    represent its position in relation to the assembly or the numbers of
    departments, but represented “pro-unionist wishful thinking within the NIO”.

    “These are issues for the negotiations in tandem with a range of other
    matters of equal, if not greater significance. If there is any growing consensus
    on this issue it certainly does not involve Sinn Féin,” he said.

    “Its publication is damaging and smacks of unhelpful game-playing when we
    need real and responsible engagement to reach a comprehensive, balanced and
    inclusive agreement.”

    Except that the Northern Ireland deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, had previously said,

    “I’m very much in favour of a reduction in the number of assembly members from six per constituency to five,” the deputy first minister said.

    “I’m very much in favour of a reduction in the number of government
    departments.

    “I say that because I think if pain has been inflicted on our people as a
    result of the budgetary measures taken by the British government in London – a
    government made up of multi-millionaires – then I think that the political
    process politicians have to accept part of the pain of them.”

    When it comes to credibility, Sinn Féin keep burning theirs in clear view of everyone else.

  • Niall Chapman

    It’s not about reaching out to Sinn Fein, they need to reach out to the Nationalist population, by not mocking a language, and showing some leadership by condemning the idiots who protest about flags and pointless marches which cost the public purse millions a year, they could also stop letting their religious “beliefs” (I suspect most aren’t really bible bashers and just say it to win the redneck vote) affect their political decisions i.e Poots retarded blood ban.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Pete,

    I would not characterise Sinn Féin as a bastion of tolerance and reaching out, but I can think of specifics, such as meeting the Queen or, a year ago, Martin McGuinness tweeting a picture of an Orange banner in Derry.

    These may be tokenism and they may be shallow, but whatever they are, it’s a lot more than the DUP can manage.

    You do not have to be an Irish republican to be sympathetic to the Irish language, much less see that it is possible to criticize Irish language advocacy without resorting to insults. Even Winston Irvine can see this, and Linda Ervine’s audiences in East Belfast when they hold Irish language events there attest to this. But the DUP went further than that – they attacked the Alliance Party for, among other things, supporting marriage equality.

    It is clearer than ever that Unionism cannot offer a political ideology or creed which is positive. The DUP believe that the only way they can win elections is by attacking minorities and dispensing insults from behind a lectern.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Agree mostly but Sinn Féin voted that prostitution prohibition through the assembly alongside the DUP.

  • MonkDeWallyDeHonk

    “When it comes to credibility, Sinn Féin keep burning theirs in clear view of everyone else”

    Of course, your mates in the DUP are in a position to lecture everyone about credibility (and tolerance). Was Iris Robinson there?

    I come from a moderate Nationalist background as do my family and friends – none of us have ever voted SF – lapsed SDLP supporters would best describe us.

    Whether you like it or not – demographics are clear – the Union will not remain without the support of Catholic voters. Do you ever look at the statistics of how many Catholics (pro-Union or not) vote DUP or UUP?

    Do you really think that Wilson’s tired old “routine” (did he have the usual H Block jokes?) or Gregory Campbell’s vitriol are going to persuade any Pro-Union Catholic to vote DUP?

    You must really think Nationalists are stupid – the wet dream of very many DUP members and supporters is a return to old Stormont rule when the taigs knew their place. This conference and the speeches simply confirm that.

    I’m not interested in defending SF. However, you seem to think that attacking SF and ignoring this tired old rhetoric of hate and disrespect from the DUP is great “journalism”.
    I think Comrade Stalin’s pieces are a lot more balanced – it’s a lot more complex than “SF bad – Unionism good”.

  • Morpheus

    The desperation is simply dripping off the DUP and it is ugly and undignified. They will reap what they sow and it will be hilarious to watch

  • Ernekid

    I wonder if the DUP are aware of the shifting demographics in Northern Ireland. A catholic demographic majority Is likely inevitable within the next decade. Support for the DUP amongst Catholics is at 0%.

    Whilst the millennial generation takes racial, sexual and gender equality as a given. The DUP still pander to a homophobic fundamentalist audience that is rapidly shrinking. What exactly does this party offer to anyone under the age of 30? What exactly does it offer to anyone who believes in gender, sexual and religious equality? What exactly does this party offer to anyone who doesn’t want to live in a backward anachronism on the far edge of Europe that makes the state of Alabama seem progressive?

  • Comrade Stalin

    The thing as well is that unionists can complain all day about how unfair life is when it comes to SF, but that doesn’t get them off the hook from the antics that damage their own cause.

    The message I’m personally taking from yesterday’s DUP conference more loudly and clearly than ever before is that these people are dangerous, un-British, and are now they are openly parading that not only do they want to consolidate the reach of their nefarious brand over Northern Ireland, but they now want to extend the benefits to the rest of the UK along with UKIP.

    The DUP are now force for the worse that needs to be stopped at all costs, and in some cases, such as in North Belfast, Fermanagh South Tyrone, and possibly even South Belfast, holding the nose and voting SF will be the only way to accomplish this.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I mean, what would happen if Martin McGuinness stood up at an SF conference and said that he would never meet the Queen again, that the Orangemen would never march down the Crumlin Road ever again, and that unionist demands about the parades commission would be treated as no more than toilet paper ?

    The DUP would be walking out of the executive and the assembly would collapse, and there would probably be serious trouble on the streets.

    Thankfully the DUP are the only party unencumbered by the luxury of political responsibility for their actions.

  • Morpheus

    I’d go the other way…nationalists should put an agreed candidate in these areas -plus Gregweirdo’s constituency – to maximise the number of pro – agreement MPs at Westminster who will take their seats.

    If Mike Nezbitt can’t take the moderate unionist ground after this weekend’s pathetic display by the DUP then he might as well quit. He has been given an open goal

  • notimetoshine

    Hideous. Everything that is wrong with our politics. A speech soaked in the sectarian head count politics that ruin any chance of a working assembly. They will co operate when its in the interests of unipnism? They are in a coalition government for crying out loud. If the people of NI vote for these people and the shinners, well they deserve everything they get.

  • Ernekid

    ‘Ulster is British’ I just spent yesterday in Donegal where lots of people speak Gaelic. I’m think that they’d disagree with that statement.

  • Ernekid

    Where is your homeland? Does it extend beyond your back garden? Is my house part of it? Am I allowed to be a part of it? I’m an Irish speaking Fermanagh man with Catholic and Protestant roots, do I qualify for Homeland status? Are Donegal, Monaghan and Cavan part of the homeland?

  • Niall Chapman

    “According to the 2001 Census, 658,103 people (36% of the population) had “some knowledge of Irish” – of whom 559,670 were Catholicsand 48,509 were Protestants and “other Christians”.

    Knowledge of Irish by persons over the age of 3 (2001 Census):

    Speaks, reads, writes and understands Irish: 223,678″

    Not to mention that more and more people are sending their children to Irish Language schools, many not for Nationalistic reasons, but because studies have shown that bilingual children have higher cognitive ability and are able to learn new languages faster also.

  • Niall Chapman

    Firstly Poots banned gay blood being given in Northern Ireland, it was still coming in from the UK, so thats your argument shot to sh*t, also the blood is tested for disease anyway, I’m sure if you were on your death bed and the only blood that was available and was the same type as yours was a gay man or lesbian woman and had been tested for disease that you wouldn’t give a stuff.

    Secondly your idea of ” “Nationalists” need to be ostracised” also happened pre 1968 which triggered the Civil Rights movement and the unionist backlash or “ostracism” of Nationalists,which then led to the split and creation of PIRA so not a great idea.

    I think you should give up on this lark Gutter, you haven’t got a clue

  • Niall Chapman

    “Unique people” no argument there, none like you anywhere which is why the rest of the UK find your marches and “culture” so abhorrent i.e Better Together campaign distancing itself completely from N.I Unionists during the referendum

  • carl marks

    that “homeland” word again, have noticed that a lot of loyalists posters have started using it! any chance of explaining it cause it sounds almost biblical and i just don’t see how it fits what we have here!

  • sk

    Gregory Campbell snarling on the podium, Peter Robinson snarling at his interviewer, Pete “focus gentlemen” Baker snarling over the internet…

    They’re rattled.

  • sk

    Why have you changed your handle again, AyeYerMa?

  • Morpheus

    But Ulster is not British toodlepips. As per the GFA Northern Ireland remains part of the UK and it will remain so until such times as the majority of the electorate say otherwise but one thing you need to understand, the future of Northern Ireland is either
    a. one where the Catholics are the biggest group or
    b. a UI.

    I therefore have 2 questions:
    1. which is your prefered option, a or b?
    2. do you think the DUP’s behaviour this weekend added to Catholic support for political unionism? I say ‘added to’ because current combined support is a grand total of 0% so it can’t get any lower.

    What we saw this weekend was nothing more than Canute giving out a final plea with the waves to stop before he got his feet wet 🙂

  • Morpheus

    It is just me that is starting to like this guy? I haven’t laughed this hard in ages 🙂

  • Morpheus

    Shouldn’t be appeased eh? What do you recommend?

  • Deke Thornton

    Going by the opinions of many of the population under 60, I would say the majority of the population will be secular/atheist in line with much of the rest of the UK (and Republic of Ireland).

  • Morpheus

    You know the opinions of many of the population under 60? Wow! Impressive. Unfortunately though I am forced to rely on the census and according to table DC2116NI the non-religionist under 60s make up just 9.52% of the population so it might take a while. But here’s hoping

  • runepig

    There’s a flaw in your logic – Northern Ireland is not a country

  • Deke Thornton

    Anecdotal. But how many people who ticked the boxes are true believers and attend church/chapel regularly? Weddings and Funerals maybe. Less people will vote. Especially the under 30’s. The more economically literate know the value of HM treasury subsidy. And how many (middle class) people give a damn about parades or Irish language when the dream of a reasonably secure job is primary. Religion as an identifying feature of voting pattern may not be the power it used to be, thank you David Attenborough and Richard Dawkins.

  • Ernekid

    oh dear. I’ll just leave this here

  • Morpheus

    Is there an answer anywhere in that blah diddy blah blah blah or shall I put you down for a big fat A?

    It matters not a jot what you think of the GFA, it’s a legally binding agreement, voted for by the majority and it’s the only show in town. Your ramble is amusingly Canute all over again.

    You are a relic sunshine, analogue in a digital era. The NI that you crave is gone, never to return again so you can either come join us in 2014 or get your feet wet when the tide comes in

  • Morpheus

    As in ignore their elected public representatives? Is that how the real world works?

    I honestly thought you were going to be daft enough to say something more……militant

  • Niall Chapman
  • Ernekid

    Que?

    Donegal is in Ulster, The 9 county Province that has its origins in the ancient kingdom of Ulaidh,

    Here’s a wee guide to you in case you’re confused

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulster

    Northern Ireland is on the other hand another kettle of fish altogether, The six county devolved region of the United Kingdom established under the Govt of Ireland Act 1920.

    Here’s a wee guide.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Ireland

    It’s fairly basic stuff, I remember learning it in primary school

  • Niall Chapman

    So Linda Ervine is insane for re-claiming the Irish Language for people in the unionist community a large number of whom spoke Irish up until a number of decades ago i.e Carson ?

    I honestly despair for your jaded opinions, I hope if you have any young friends or family that they realise your opinions are extremely behind the times and without merit so your views won’t influence them. If you’d like an insight into the benefits of growing up in a bilingual environment: http://science.time.com/2013/07/18/how-the-brain-benefits-from-being-bilingual/

    Although it was written in that Fenian paper: TIME magazine

  • Morpheus

    Aristotle? He’s no fun, I’d much rather laugh at you.

    So you think that democracy shouldn’t be extended to those who have been democratically elected eh? Tell me, what colour is the sky in your world?

  • Morpheus

    Oh it is an Agreement alright sweetie, it’s right there in the title.

    What makes you think I am a loyal British citizen? No chance I could be Irish? American? Or one of those other immigrants you hear so much about these days 🙂

    It is so cute that you think you are in a position to tell me to emigrate. Bless your wee cotton socks 🙂

  • Morpheus

    Have they set a date? I haven’t got my tinfoil hat made yet

  • Ernekid

    The Interesting thing about Ulster’s County boundaries is that they roughly correspond with the land holdings of the Gaelic Chieftains prior to the Flight of the Earls, So Donegal or Tir Connail roughly matches to the lands of the O’Donnell’s Fermanagh to lands to the Maguire’s Tyrone to the Lands of the O’Neill’s. Local Government boundaries have a rich and varied history in our Province and they nicely illustrate the changing nature of our shared history.Yes County boundary’s may have been established by English cartographers but they have their roots in much deeper history.

    I think it’s fascinating personally, If you interested in Cartography in Ireland there’s some great books to read. You don’t have so antagonistic you know.

    🙂

  • Niall Chapman

    I’ve no idea how old you are but your viewpoint sounds like its from Paisleys mouth in the 1960’s, and even he repented when it came to civil and equal rights (although he could have ditched the fire and brimstone bullsh*t)

  • tmitch57

    Gutter,
    The term progressive was used as a political description in both the United States and in the Union of South Africa in the early 20th century by non-Marxists long before it was appropriated by the Soviet Union to refer to fellow travelers. So your use of this argument merely displays your ignorance of political history.

  • tmitch57

    Alan,
    Was there any indication from the conference who the front runner to succeed Peter Robinson as party leader is? Did Dodds have a more prominent role than Sammy or Arlene?

  • Niall Chapman

    So you’re saying that the Civil Rights movement was an IRA plot?

    Next you’ll be telling me that Ivan Cooper was O.C. of Free Derry IRA and John Hume wanted housing for Catholics so he could store C4 in them.

    When is the surgery to get your head out of your arse? I’l bring some grapes to the hospital for you, but don’t worry they wont be green.

  • Niall Chapman

    Indeed it’s officially part of the “United” Kingdom, it shouldnt even have 4 separate football teams, but that would require the Kingdom to be truly united

  • Niall Chapman

    I am 95% sure that this is that eejit Jamie Bryson.

    Welcome to the debate Jamie you might learn something, I have to say I’m a big fan, you are definitely the most dedicated comedic actor since Ali G, you’ve been playing the idiotic politico for years now without a break, Sascha Baren Cohen was only able to play Ali G for a few hours a day, you are even doing it online. A true comedic legend

  • Niall Chapman

    I can’t be sure but I think this “Gutter O’Fools” is Jamie Bryson. I bet his I.P. address shows that he’s in Donaghadee

  • Morpheus

    Oh right, so we’re anti-democracy as well?

    Let me get this straight, you are anti-democracy, anti-GFA, anti-nationalists in Government, anti-equal rights etc.

    Hahahahaha, your head must explode on a daily basis when you take a look around 🙂

  • It happened before I’d arrived and wasn’t on the supplied programme. I’ve amended that paragraph in light of the new information.

  • Niall Chapman

    Classic stuff Jamie 😀

  • Morpheus

    No, this guy can spell. Raving lunatic mind but an articulate one all the same

  • Pete – I still expect the first minister to show leadership in the face of an election (as he has done in the wording of parts of previous speeches – 2011 and 2012 – for which he came in for flack) … while we wait to cast votes this place needs to take steps forward and not get stuck in reverse. His Lagan Valley MP made a much more positive contribution earlier in the day, which I’ve added into the post.

  • [delete a long paragraph and simply say …] No.

    Chat about it on the fringes, and a definite expectation there would be a new leader, but Dodds introduced Robinson, Arlene spoke on Friday afternoon (but was prominent in the front row on Saturday and was mentioned at length by Sammy – though she denies eating testicles while on tour) late on Saturday afternoon.

  • Morpheus

    I dread to ask but “eating testicles”?

  • Morpheus

    Lemme guess, they should avail of their dual citizenship by ‘fecking off down south” eh? Is there anything about you that is not a done-to-death cliché?

  • Morpheus

    Neither do those from Northern Ireland, weird eh?

  • Morpheus

    How do you intend ostracising those pesky nationalists Gutty-Boy?

    Ever think that ostracising lampers like you might be the way forward?

  • nilehenri

    aye you’re unique all right. and you won’t fight, you’ll do what societies have done all over the world, all throughout the years; move on or accept.

  • nilehenri

    gaelscoil neachtain, dungiven irish school, built on the site of the old (protestant) high school.
    they used to have an orange hall in the town too, until it was bulldozed to make way for a…wait for it…library. chip, chip, chip, tick-tock tick-tock jamie.

  • David

    SF were initially cold on clause 6 (criminalisation of sex buyers) and stated that they would wait for further research and evidence before making a decision. That research in the form of a QUB study sponsored by the DOJ was published on 17th October, showing that NI sex workers overwhelmingly opposed criminalisation and that most of the DUP arguments were highly dubious at best. SF ignored the research and declared for clause 6, suggesting ulterior motives for backing the clause. It’s worth mentioning that a very similar clause was rejected out of hand in Westminster just days later. Also worth mentioning that the clause would almost have passed without SF support as the SDLP had already declared support and just 4 more votes were required to push it through. One day after the vote, Alban Maginess demonstrating incredible ignorance on the subject, giving the overall impression that the whole thing was a moral crusade rather than being based on actual facts.

  • Niall Chapman

    He was responding to my questions fairly promptly up to the point where I inquired if he was Jamie Bryson, maybe AyeYerMa is also Jamie

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “Traitors should not be in the Assembly in the first place.”

    Careful what you wish for, the history of unionism (and Protestantism) is littered with ‘rebels’ and ‘traitors’ from the Apprentice Boys who closed the gates in defiance of the King (well, his governing hands) or Carson’s UVF who opened the stable door of armed rebellion and inspired rebellious movements all over the island.

    I am tired of this fantasy chat of how things ‘should’ or should not be done.

    Her Majesty’s gov has determined that they (SF) be in the assembly.

    End of.
    Done.
    Dusted.
    Case closed.
    Work with what you have.

    The SAS is not going to creep-in some night and kill everyone on Willie Frazer’s sh*t list…

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Niall

    He (GO’F) strikes me as some one more akin to AyeYerMa/Ulidian Realist.

    I can’t yet work out if it’s his latest incarnation or if NI is home to two people who think his way…

  • tmitch57

    Ulster/Norther Ireland is not British according to the British passport. It says right on the cover “The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”–if Northern Ireland were part of Britain it would just say “The United Kingdom of Great Britain.” It’s merely the leftover flotsam of the Empire in a post-imperial age..

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “Clearly some sort of psychological guilt complex relating to her late husband….”

    ‘Late’ husband?

    I’m pretty sure Brian is alive and kicking.

    Of course his brother David (unfortunately) is long departed this mortal coil.

    He (David) and his colleague Gusty Spence both studied Gaelic whilst in prison so it’s a hardly the stuff to trigger some sort of guilt complex is it?

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Paisley was also wrong about a lot of things too, let us look at some of his high-points:

    * Denying fellow UK citizens the full rights and privileges accorded to UK citizens in Britiain – Failed

    * Stopping the Anglo-Irish agreement – Failed

    * Smashing SF- Failed (Indeed he was often regarded as the IRA’s no 1 recruiting agent)

    * Smashing the GFA – Failed (and how!)

    There are people on here from a nationalist background who are content for NI to remain part of the UK. That is a political advantage not to be lightly surrendered yet you show up here with your “my way or high way” style and presumably start to agitate them BACK towards the realm of nationalism or re-unificationism.

    You are singlehandedly discouraging people from a pro-union stance.

    How does pushing people away from a pro-union stance benefit the unionist position?

    If you could answer that without going all David Icke that would appreciated…

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Well, if your kids grew up bilingual in English and Old Norse then they would be better equipped to learn other languages than mono-lingual kids.

    Let’s start now in fact, I motion that the town of Larne be posted in English and Old Norse, ‘Ulfreksfjord’ (or ‘Olderfleet’).

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Take away the motivations for why people “wish to destroy it” and then you’re half way home already.

    In the 90’s hardly anyone of a nationalist background was content with the status quo/pro-union now since a bit more respect and tolerance (e.g. dual citizenship) has come about we have seen a significant increase in the number of people from a nationalist background who are pro-union/pro-status quo.

    A big fear of SF is that this ‘content’ factor might be exploited thereby potentially suppressing the hunger for re-unification for some nationalists.

    A big relief for SF is that there is a massive idiot element within unionism who view such pragmatic moves as ‘surrenders’ and would rather watch NI die a slow death than make a few decent and respectful gestures such as an Irish language act or a flag for NI.

    This past 100 years unionism has been drawing a line in the sand, whipping up a frenzy among ‘the people’, forced clashes with HMG only to be defeated and draw a new, smaller line in the sand and repeat the process ad nauseum.

    Sometimes the best thing to do when a person is pushing you is to pull and catch them off balance.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    My thoughts exactly, it’s a very distinct and identifiable kind of ranting isn’t it?

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “Why should people “reach out” to enemies who wish to destroy their right to a homeland?”

    Because, genius, the term ‘nationalist’ is a lazy one and does not reflect the number of people from a ‘nationalist’ background who are in fact not nationalistic in anyway and could be better described as ‘fence sitters’ which means that they could be (and indeed a number already have been) persuaded to vote ‘pro-union’.

    When you come along with your abrasive attitude you steer them clear of ‘the fence’ and push them back towards the ‘nationalist’ fold as they feel that they are not welcome in the pro-UK corner, much to the detriment of the pro-union movement.

  • Niall Chapman

    I’m not familiar with AyeYerMa, SK mentioned him earlier but I do remember Ulidian realist speaking the same sort of fiction based rhetoric a while ago

  • Comrade Stalin

    It must be terribly disappointing for you that you have no say in the matter.

  • Comrade Stalin

    No, it’s not Jamie. This is a professional troll.

  • Comrade Stalin

    there’s another flaw in his logic, which is that the way Northern Ireland is been governed has been endorsed many times at the polls now.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I think you should address your views to Peter Robinson. He thinks the union is in danger and needs to be protected by people voting overwhelmingly for unionist pact parties.

  • Niall Chapman

    I thought that was Jamie’s job title?

  • tmitch57

    Who says I’m a leftist? The Twadell Brigade?

  • Morpheus

    “Job”?

    C’mon Niall 🙂

  • Sammy Wilson’s comedy slot bounced off I’m a Celebrity and suggested that Arlene has had to eat a lot of exotic dishes as part of selling NI business opportunities around the world. He mentioned “camel testicles” … though I heard Arlene mutter from her seat that she hadn’t said that!

    It’ll he about half way through Sammy’s speech at https://audioboom.com/boos/2674798-dup14-sammy-wilson-s-annual-conference-routine-this-year-with-jokes-about-explosive-chocolate-bombe

  • Guest

    Is é an fear seo cinnte ar leathcheann. I’d say Gregory Campbell has heard this a few times in the Assembly.

  • barnshee

    “gaelscoil neachtain, dungiven irish school, built on the site of the old (protestant) high school.
    they used to have an orange hall in the town too, until it was bulldozed to make way for a…wait for it…library. chip, chip, chip, tick-tock tick-tock jamie.”

    Protestants eliminated from village – shrine to murderer built outside Protestant church
    A real cause for celebration – looking forward to reciprocity somewhere ??

  • barnshee

    “a. one where the Catholics are the biggest group or
    b. a UI.”

    Cheers for sexual incontinence and burdens on the system

    No Surrender/Pope/contraception here

  • Morpheus

    You’re welcome

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Hi Ernekid, Louth don’t forget Louth. The nine county (good heavens, the “any” county) Ulster is a plantation creation. Louth was an integral part of ancient Ulster.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Try getting anything unsupported by strong academic evidence accepted by Wikipedia for any length of time!!!! Not that I don’t correct the occasional blunder, such as the Lillibulero page.

  • nilehenri

    kevin lynch wasn’t arrested for murder, neither has he ever been accused of one, and no, setting the facts straight does not make me an apologist before you go off on that one.

    my comment was in answer to jamie o’bryson’s typical brain dead comment, but as you obviously fall into the ‘offended by everything’ camp i can understand exactly why you feel the way you do. several of the businesses in the town were run by protestants, i have never known anyone who wilfully boycotted them. several people from the town whom i have known for a great many years and am very fond of happen to be protestant, something i never even knew until the subject came up casually in a conversation with another mutual (catholic) friend, and that is just how it should be.

    make it clear ‘we’ don’t hate willie, jamie, gregory et al because they are protestants, it is because the are unsufferable dixx with inflammatory points of view that would look out of place in any century, much less this one.

    a last note: perhaps if the good ole ruc hadn’t beaten francie pol beag mccloskey to death in the town way back in 1969 maybe things wouldn’t have turned out as they eventually did. i believe his death has yet to be investigated.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Rats, my secret’s out.

    But I guess there’s no point in pretending anymore. You better watch yourself or I’ll send the boys round.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I welcome your bringing of a case to the Supreme Court.

    I guess once you’ve got done spending your time on the highly worthwhile activity of arguing with people you hold in contempt and whose views you do not accept, maybe you’ll get around to obtaining a mandate for your fruitcake views. Either that or raise an army. Whichever it is, could you go off and do it somewhere else and stop annoying people here ?

  • mickfealty

    Ka-ching, there’s another royalty payment to John Mooney/FJH..

    Quick note Gutter, you have great energy, not to mention some flamboyance about yer class of banter, but is there any chance of getting an actual conversation with you?

  • kalista63

    Almost as if you are saying, Loyalists (are) Against Democracy. 🙂

  • kalista63

    Actually, Mike said that he was also against the language act as well. He’s no moderate.