Is nuance starting to break out underneath Northern Ireland’s politics?

Interesting observation from Anton McCabe in a piece for the Village magazine (which is ten years old this year)…

The DUP source was careful not to exaggerate the support from Catholic social conservatives. “It may be only a handful”, the DUP source said. “But in an election, a handful of votes can make a difference”. He pointed out that, while all the Churches have sought DUP support on social issues “only one Church ever backed that up with a statement – that’s the Catholic Church”.

A priest in a nationalist rural area has said he has been surprised at a number of parishioners telling him they were voting DUP. They were former SDLP voters, who saw that party as standing for Catholic principles – but have lost faith in it. Certainly, with constitutional issues and controversy over flags and marches having retreated, the DUP is no longer as toxic to a section of Catholics. Its difficulty may be that the issues which attract these Catholics are increasingly toxic to the majority of the North’s Protestants.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Mick – it may be interesting, but it doesn’t make it any less stupid. Catholics voting for the DUP is patent nonsense. Maybe in Paisley’s day when he, at least, tried to preach inclusiveness. Robbo and his bible bashing, far right creationists have taken the DUP so far beyond the pale I’m astonished even Protestants continue to vote for them. Queer bashers, racists, they are a laughing stock outside NI. I have absolutely no idea what the last sentence of the piece means???

  • chrisjones2

    I honestly hope you are wrong. The idea of Pete the Mullah is just too scary

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Where’s the nuance, where’s the interest and where’s the significance? Those that McCabe describes as socially conservative are dying out, are becoming aware of possibilities hitherto unknown to them and becoming increasingly relaxed in a live and let live social framework. If middle class RCs are capable of ‘counter intuitive’ flexibility to transcend the sectarian divide then they’re capable of flexibility, period.

  • james

    Dying out? Not so sure. People naturally become more socially conservative as they get older.

  • james

    I would disagree that the DUP are a party of “queer bashers and racists”. But even if they were, are you suggesting that all Catholics are pro-gay and in favour of unlimited immigration?

  • Catcher in the Rye

    Maybe in Paisley’s day when he, at least, tried to preach inclusiveness.

    Strange, I must have missed that.

    Robbo and his bible bashing, far right creationists have taken the DUP so far beyond the pale

    Um, Paisley was the bible bashing creationist. Robinson is the moderniser who pushed the party into power sharing. You’ll seldom hear Robinson pushing the bible or advocating creationism.

  • murdockp

    socially conservative..
    I would have said just conservative.
    You don’t see many retirees receiving their ‘golden ticket final salary pensions” living in their houses that they bought for pennies but have had its value inflated as a result of inflation giving any cash back to the young many of which will receive no pension and never will own their own home.

  • tmitch57

    I completely agree–it was Robinson who stole the UUP’s political clothing.

  • tmitch57

    The significance is that if large numbers of Catholic social-conservatives begin to vote for the DUP instead of for the SDLP, that party will disintegrate even faster and the ruling duopoly of SF/DUP will be the beneficiaries.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    So Robinson pushed the DUP into power sharing? I must have missed that as well. He’s me thinking Ian was the first DUP First Minister with Martin being DFM. Must be getting old and forgetting my history….Have a gander at the founding members of the Caleb Foundation, a leading creationist pressure group, and how many of them are key players in the DUP.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    The you don’t know the DUP, and no.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Or the leader piece is just plain wrong.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    So Robinson pushed the DUP into power sharing? I must have missed that as well.

    If you missed the DUP entering powersharing with SF there’s not a lot I can do for you …

    He’s me thinking Ian was the first DUP First Minister with Martin being DFM.

    It’s well known that Robinson (deputy leader) had been running the party for some time before that, and that Robinson had been advocating entering powersharing earlier. Once Paisley had served his purpose as the figurehead he was immediately dropped.

    Have a gander at the founding members of the Caleb Foundation, a leading creationist pressure group, and how many of them are key players in the DUP.

    The nutters have been part of the DUP since the start. Your characterisation of Paisley as some sort of belated moderate with Robinson having close links to Caleb simply isn’t reality.

  • james

    I think it is lazy to describe all DUP members as racist and homophobic, though no doubt some are. As lazy as it would be of me to say all SF members are murderers and convicted terrorists. Some may be, but not all.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    You’ve got me there James…..

    😉

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Keep making up the history as you go along Catcher. Ian led the DUP into power sharing. You think big Ian let anyone else take the decisions? Paisley did something Robinson never could do – he changed his opinion and position. Robinson maintains these creationist fruit loops within the DUP “front bench”. Lastly, you think NI is further forward with power sharing with Robinson at the helm. You are deluded man. He’s a died in the wool bigot.

  • james

    I do believe I have 🙂

  • chrisjones2

    I can promise that all my friends across the community on all sides are flexible and united. We don’t give a stuff about the constitutional politics and we all regard our local politicians as irredeemably useless, sectarian, backward looking grasping fools whom we want nothing to do with

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Ignorance is bliss old chap.

  • james

    I wouldn’t know

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    I haven’t. My friends haven’t. My parents haven’t. My parents’ friends haven’t. A lot of older people adopt a ‘when I’m old, I shall wear purple’ attitude. It often depends on what they have a stake in. Is your unsubstantiated claim wishful thinking? If it is then you can look forward to a lonely old age.

  • james

    My unsubstantiated claim? That people tend to get more conservative as they get older? Would have thought that was a fairly obvious truism in general.

  • Granni Trixie

    Ben,this is my experience also. Take the example of a friend of mine, an RC practitioner (unlike myself) who was telling me that an adoption group he belongs to had told off a high ranking priest for claiming publically that this group would be “against” adoption by gay people, particularly as the priest was claiming also to be on the same page as the DUP on the topic. I believe that this adoption group have now moved from parish premises and found an alternative home.