“No surrender” from Arlene, as she calls for a united unionist party on the eve of negotiations

Arlene’s call for a single unionist party in the Belfast Telegraph is a clear sign she’s going make fight of it.    Coming on the eve of first stage negotiations, it suggests a different  focus – defiance.  The move is out of kilter with the one action that would false foot Sinn Fein or get them back in government – standing aside as first minister even temporarily.

Ideally, I would like to see a renewed attempt to create unionist unity where the parties would come together.

Failing that, we need to agree transfer pacts where unionists transfer down the ballot paper to each other

The impression  given is one of rising to the challenge of the Sinn Fein surge and  shifting towards playing  a longer term numbers game rather than prioritising a return to government quickly.   Arlene is going first for consolidation, the narrow defence of the unionist cause rather than trying to extend its appeal. While this is only a first move, her idea of consolidation repudiates Mike Nesbitt’s  cross community gesture  and reinforces the sectarian character of politics. The implications for Sinn Fein and the SDLP are obvious.

There is no hint here of broadening the appeal. While there is some logic to it,  consolidation would not necessarily amortise unionist strength.  and she betrays no sign of acknowledging that  united unionism can no longer guarantee the numbers.  Although a pact or a united party might make sense in the likes of FST, narrower appeal may mean a smaller overall vote, as the election showed some unionist drift to Alliance and the Greens.

The familiar distrust of all Sinn Fein’s works is still here for all to see.

Given how Sinn Fein reacted to almost winning the election with their renewed calls for a border poll and for concessions from the Government, can you imagine how they would have reacted to having won the election?

There is no admission here that she bore a lot of responsibility for that near- victory nor any acknowledgement  of the obvious  fact  that a “ radical republican agenda” cannot be forced through a power sharing  government.

She doesn’t seem to realise that Sinn Fein’s hand is immeasurably stronger now outside the Executive, full of bargaining chips for returning, thanks largely to her. She seems obsessed by that border poll. Sinn Fein’s undoubted victory shouldn’t be exaggerated.  While a decision to hold a border poll is nominally a matter for the secretary of state on  a judgement on the numbers in favour, the Assembly would surely figure. 40% of the total vote is not near enough to trigger it. And in any hypothetical vote in the Assembly outside the designation straightjackets, nationalism musters 40 votes, the pro-union side up to 50. The “others” are not guaranteed to deliver, true, but probably would. What we have is a more perfect deadlock. Nothing is changed utterly.

OK , so this is too narrow a view. Like workers on strike after a successful ballot, Sinn Fein must up the ante. Like employers who misjudged the strike threat, the DUP have to make an offer.  Go for bust or take your pick?  Irish Language Act, LGBT, a Bill of Rights, joint first ministers, fund the inquests, no hierarchy of victims, the peace centre at last.  Oh and something about Arlene Foster. The list is not exhaustive  You’ll have noticed most of this is about symbols in the sectarian power struggle. Nobody gives a stuff about the business of government, aside from giving the begging bowl a good rattle.

What do the DUP want in return? What can Sinn Fein offer? Who are the DUP to ask for anything and SF to concede? The broad answer must be a return to the Assembly.   What’s it worth to each side? Sinn Fein haven’t anything else to offer that the DUP want. Special EU status for the north whatever that is, is a matter for the two governments and the EU, depending on access to the single market.  DUP support for it would be nice but irrelevant. Concerns about the border are of course real but are probably felt more by nationalists than unionists.The longer the stand-off continues over the Assembly, the more the  complexities of  Brexit will be reduced to just one more battle front in the sectarian  power struggle.

Most of what Sinn Fein want dare I say it, is innately reasonable give or take a detail. None of it undermines the Union one jot. The main problem is that it’s Sinn Fein doing the wanting. Nothing divides them except division itself.  The DUP  should engage and quickly say: ” why don’t we continue this  properly in the Executive?”  This would require new protocols for good behaviour, much stronger than Fresh Start. 

Sinn Fein have their part to play in  Gerry Adams’ ” step change. A system that is vulnerable to a  single  resignation is clearly defective. The protocols must include an early warning of trouble ahead and formal intervention by the two governments which have busked it badly for years.

If Sinn Fein try to insist on a border poll, we’ll know they’re not serious about going back into government soon. Referendums are by nature divisive and the bluntest of instruments for change, as we know from the bitter experience of the EU referendum. The present flurry of frantic calculations has inflamed the  the numbers game that until last week was partly suppressed by both sides for the same reason, that they might lose it, once  the question is actually put.  To the extent that there has been a discussion at all it has mainly been about the optimal conditions for winning it rather  considering what is in the best  interests of society as a whole. Does the latter sound like Gerry Adams, or Arlene Foster for that matter?

On dealings with the Brits, Adams has a fair point about Brokenshire. He was trebly foolish to join the Tory complainers about prosecuting soldiers. It undoubtedly undermined the perception of his impartiality as co-chair of the negotiations; the timing was lousy as the Assembly crisis was brewing, and he has no legal power to intervene. He should mitigate the problem by pressing for the adoption the Haass agenda on the legacy and keeping in reserve legislating for it in full at Westminster.

Arlene could still bring all to a head by opening with the killer question: “if I don’t go forward as first minister will you go back into government?”   If Sinn Fein answered yes, could she sell it as success or survive the charge of why she didn’t stand down in the first place and avoid the permanent damage to the unionist position? If Sinn Fein reply “ too little too late”, then nothing else is around to promote a return to government before the RHI inquiry reports.

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  • North Down dup

    Mp post still stands

  • the moviegoer

    Why?

  • the moviegoer

    NI has always been a fundamentalist Presbyterian outlier in the liberal Anglican UK. The ROI now has more in common with Britain than NI does.

  • 05OCT68

    It’s not dead it’s pining for the fjords.

  • 05OCT68

    Belfast? See Gaza

  • grumpy oul man

    Well i cant sign you up, your elected representatives are the only ones can do that.
    Of course in return the wagons will need to be uncircled and remember respect has to go both way or it won’t work.

  • 05OCT68

    Very similar to the comments from Fox News viewers, snowflakes, alt left, fake news, cuck liberals, God, church, globalists, strong leader etc. Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee$us

  • 05OCT68

    I’m very tempted but I shouldnt

  • North Down dup

    Scotland was once a good fundamental Presbyterian outlier

  • North Down dup

    I agree with that , can I also point out that in my opinion if your going back futher, the northern , ulster protestant and Catholic is very much the same , the culture in ulster was and is very much different than the rest of Ireland,

  • North Down dup

    if you check the first post you will no way,

  • North Down dup

    Our links with Scotland are strong, the culture link with Scotland goes way back, ulster scot which am proud to be one, the fast majority of people in ni have ulster scotts in them, we talk about speaking Irish, most nationalists would speak some ulster scot’s during the day,even if it is the odd word here and there, the people of ulster has so much in common there culture is very much the same passed down for hundreds of years, ulster is different than the rest of Ireland always has been, going back to now you can’t take NI out of the man , inside we are emotional attached to are identity, there lies the problem

  • Timothyhound

    It appears impossible (for understandable reasons) to get unionists to articulate what they would want in the event of UI. Regional assembly? Commonwealth , flag, constitution, rotating presidency? Views welcome on what I appreciate appears naive!

  • North Down dup

    We’ve been brought up in the UK , schools, news hospitals I can go on, I remember once in camp America there was me and a guy from Belfast a nationalist and 2 or 3 from the mainland, and a guy from Dublin, the guy from Belfast stunch Irish, and I can remember the guy from Dublin saying to him , what really do we have in common all you’ve done is talk about the UK , TV, radio, news, sports , he said do you know anything about Ireland, no

  • Pat Mac Murphy

    She’s doomed

  • johnny lately

    Again im pretty certain his name was not Lundy but I do know he was from Tigers bay in North Belfast.

  • Katyusha

    See, I’d agree with most of that and disagree with a tiny part of it, ND.

    The Ulstermen have always been a tribe apart, and our links with the Scots are intimate and strong.
    In this sense, it doesn’t matter if NI or the UK exist or not. We will always be Ulstermen and northerners, no matter how the world changes. NI, the border, and the union seem very recent and artificial, when viewed against the deep depths of our history and culture. Even if the UK or the RoI disappeared tomorrow, we will still be the same people, warm and welcoming, personable, moral, straight-laced and warlike, and our culture will still be unique, for generations to come.

    The men who draws lines on maps can’t change that, much as they’d like to try.

  • 05OCT68

    Who posted about liberals being mentally ill & B@t$hit liberals?
    I might be WRONG.

  • the moviegoer

    That’s true. NI cultural links were really to Scotland, not England. Protestants in the ROI had cultural links mainly to England and were Anglican. They were always more liberal and their influence probably had a liberalizing effect on southern society post-independence, the opposite of Protestants in NI who seem more socially conservative than nationalists. But Scotland is no longer very religious and if it leaves the UK then I can’t see unionism surviving.

  • William Kinmont

    what they would get would be relivancy, a proper cause and therefore increased support

  • North Down dup

    Apart from religion,( most Catholics have protestant surnames joke)you can say our history, culture, music or banter is the same deeply rooted, proud ulster men we are go back hundreds of years, very much different than the rest of Ireland, so why not live in northern Ireland 1culture 2 identities, 1 people

  • Katyusha

    Because Northern Ireland hasn’t worked at all.
    We’ve gone from the economic and industrial centre of Ireland to being unable to survive without a begging bowl. Instead of uniting our people, it has divided them; the province is marked by sectarian division, whether in peacetime or in conflict.
    The “mother” Parliament in the UK doesn’t care one jot about us and we hold no power there. The English themselves barely know that we exist.
    At some point you have to say that, union or no union, the partition of our country, our people and our province has been a disaster for all concerned.

  • Jollyraj

    Eh?

    No idea. Not me, certainly.

  • 05OCT68

    Not you, Guilty of Gobbledgook, it reads like your defending him.

  • Gopher

    I get a feeling that no matter what Unionist party is cobbled together if its existence is to prevent gay marriage and promote narrow Protestantism it will not prosper and frankly wont motivate anyone to vote for it. Secular and attracting as many people as possible is the only way forward. I hope there are enough MLA’s within both parties with courage and sense to see it through and put the union first. Oh and while your about sorting out the new party to be more inclusive dont forget Easter licensing hours. Me and most of the people under 50 will be voting Alliance, Green or simply not voting while your getting your act together so please be quick about it.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Very much so, people often mistake my enthusiasm for ‘Ulster’ culture as Irish nationalism but it is quite the opposite, it is a separation from the Irish main.

    Alas, Protestant disengagement from our traditional culture has caused a more ‘southern’ orientated variant to fill the vacuum.

    I argue for an Ulster Gaelic act of sorts to preserve the last variants of the language otherwise it’ll be potentially subsumed by southern variants.

    Anyhoo, i could rant all day about it.

    (On a side note, how would you personally react to an NI banner at a football game that was written in English, Gaelic and Ulster Scots? Just curious).

  • Guilty of Wrongthink

    It sounds to me like you’re the one who has only discovered for yourself that few people agree with the mindsets of The Guardian, the BBC, or Brian Walker et al — this has been common for decades now, merely that the liberal brown-nosing getalongers were the only ones to get to power in politics and media and so you didn’t hear the common view, which via the Internet it seems you’ve just discovered for yourself.

    You’re delusional if you think the liberal group-think is confined to America — lots of that nonsense came from America in the ’60s but decades of naive, complacent loony liberalism is why almost every single western nation will be facing existential threat in the coming decades. It infests every mainstream British party, court, university and corporate management structure in the land, and its about to come crashing down.

    I am well aware Trump attended a dinner many years ago, but I can overlook that for starting the chain-reaction that will be the demolishment of the greater enemy that has enabled your unreasonable appeasement.

  • Guilty of Wrongthink

    I take that as a compliment. Weak command of the military is exactly why we are in such a mess.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “Arelene, these cows are small. THOSE cows are ‘faaar away’, do you understand?”

    “No Ted, i don’t…”

  • Guilty of Wrongthink

    I am certainly not a modern do-gooding Christian — too weak — that is why they are the #1 most persecuted group in the world today. I’m not religious, but stand up for them though as many of the non-liberal variety stand for what is right right but do not stand strong enough with firm conviction of belief.

    So laughable the way supporters of evil and treacherous attempts to eradicate Northern Ireland are trying to paint any objection to you as “hate mongering” — we’ve heard enough of this Provo bullshit over the years to not trust a single word you say. That nonsense might wash with Guardian-reading BBC-loving yogurt-knitters, but few normal people are fooled by such laughable context-free distortions. You know rightly that an attitude like mine that actually gets defence of the Unionist position across is the exact thing that threatens your agenda, and like most of the pro-Fenianism comment here on Slugger, what Unionists should do is almost always the exact opposite of what you want.

  • Guilty of Wrongthink

    If Unionism wants to be eliminated (as Enda wants), do what Enda says.

  • Guilty of Wrongthink

    You will hate the DUP no-matter what and don’t want to see them have success. Please stop with your nonsense analyses because you know they are disingenuous.

  • Guilty of Wrongthink
  • billodrees

    ……and a potential Westminster general election.
    May&Co will call one if the Lords amendment vote is upheld in the Commons. She will ask for a hard Brexit mandate.
    Now THAT will be a fun election in NI!
    Popcorn time.

  • Mike the First

    There were also prisoners in the IRA wings in the Maze who were there for the sectarian mass murder of Protestants – their “OC” during the hunger strike being one notorious example.

  • Mike the First

    Cladistically speaking, dinosaurs aren’t actually extinct – you probably saw dozens of them yesterday.

  • Granni Trixie

    I most certainly do not “hate” the DUP or individuals who support it
    But I have currently a justifiable anger at how they have let down the country and its citizens. I am particularly disappointed with AF because I had high hopes she might be good for NI infact I expressed that opinion here when she took over from PR.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Interesting point BD I was thinking something similar of May calling a Scorch the Earth Westie Election. Would toast the middle ground in England & Wales, Scotland already SNP and like you say NI will be some fun ! The Boys who build good old “Lundy’ up in the Apprentice Boys Memorial Hall in Londonderry have been redirected to build that Dinosaur Godzilla to be unleased on crocodiles, Daisy Libs and to ever the hell gets in its way ! Popcorn Time is Right ! I will be sitting nearest the exit door of the cinema !

  • johnny lately

    Yes that’s correct and their were a few loyalist versions of ISIS in the Maze too who tortured their Catholic victims by cutting off various body parts before cutting their throats so what’s your point.

  • Gopher

    Ian jnrs rebellion did not last long, not that he said anything profound in the first place which means there is no change of direction with the DUP. Unsurprising as if Ians opinion on equal marriage aint known.Its hold on to our jobs through our congregation at all costs, sod the union. The only ray of light is Doug Beattie is considering the job of UUP leader hopefully he will be able to say the things Mike was incapable off over equal marriage etc.

    I felt that if there was a rebellion against Foster from both unionist parties and an acknowledgement of a secular path, that would steal all the headlines from the election and create good forward momentum

    “It little profits that an idle king,
    By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
    Match’d with an aged wife, I mete and dole
    Unequal laws unto a savage race,
    That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.”

  • Mike the First

    Wow. The very definition of whataboutery.

    My point is obvious and clear – IRA terrorists were not exactly paragons of anti-sectarianism, quite the opposite in fact.

    The fact that loyalist terrorists were vicious sectarian thugs with sadistic torture-murderers among their ranks doesn’t actually change that, so I’m baffled as to why you brought it up, other than as I said whataboutery.

  • Mike the First

    Many Scottish nationalists really are more similar to Nigel Farage than they can ever admit – just as he isn’t content with the UK leaving the EU, but desires to see the EU pulled apart completely, so they don’t want to rest at Scottish independence but rather want to see the UK completely pulled apart.

  • North Down dup

    NI banner written in English, gaelic and ulster Scots wouldn’t bother me as a block booker for many a year, I know my roots when the boys in green and white are playing they are playing for all the people of NI not UK, there should be a push to teach everyone in NI that that the ulster culture belongs to Catholic and protestant, for me Ireland was never one ,but ulster was always one , one people one culture 2 identities, it was the people of ulster that brought religion, music etc to America , so a UI means nothing to me because there never was , but a united ulster is were everyones culture lies

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    Nope. I want to see, as I said above, the last vestiges of the British Empire dissolved. This will be good for the English as well. They can concentrate on their own country, and go the way they wish, without being diverted by Scottish or Irish “interests”which are pulling in a different direction. However, although the EU needs a lot of reforming, and which it might do to a certain extent under the pressure of Brexit, I don’t want to see it broken up.

    Surely the fact that I want the UK dissolved but the EU retained, and Farage wants exactly the opposite should tell you that something other than what you think is going on?

  • Mike the First

    Yes, it tells me that you’re a mirror image of Farage.

    He wants the UK out of the EU, but also wants the EU broken up too, claiming that will be best for the Belgian, Polish, French etc peoples.

    You want Scotland out of the UK, but you also want the UK broken up too, claiming that will the best for the English (and presumably Welsh and Northern Irish) peoples.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    Read it twice, as the “Ould Grumpy Man” says. You have obviously applied no thought to my answer.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Oh dear AG, that dangerious immaterialist Bishop Berkeley strikes again…….

    “1. My design is to show the manner wherein we perceive by sight the distance, magnitude, and situation of OBJECTS. Also to consider the difference there is betwixt the IDEAS of sight and touch, and whether there be any IDEA common to both senses.

    2. It is, I think, agreed by all that DISTANCE, of itself and immediately, cannot be seen. For DISTANCE being a Line directed end-wise to the eye, it projects only one point in the fund of the eye, which point remains invariably the same, whether the distance be longer or shorter.”

    and so on…..

    https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/An_Essay_Towards_a_New_Theory_of_Vision

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Gopher, could not agree more: ” it will not prosper and frankly wont motivate anyone to vote for it.”

    While Arlene seems to feel that her own 2004 defection to the DUP is something others should now readily follow, there are simply too many conservative and liberal Unionists who would never even vote for the DUP, let alone amalgamate with them in a single party. A whole portion of the Unionist voice has already been lost with the dispair of potential UUP non voters at poor UUP showings and Arlene is shaping up to drive another swathe of Unionists from politics, those who cannot find that choice she made thirteen years ago any more acceptable today.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    A lot of current research into addiction, GOM, suggests that reactions becomes encoded in the brain and simply come into play as an automatic response to certain things the subject is presented with. Repeated often enough, the entire response gets encoded in the subjects brain as a habit—a complete and automatic set of actions that occur without any conscious decision on the part of the subject. The encoded responses which decades of control here have etched deep into collective Unionist consciouness ensure that what apparently worked in the past is repeated automatically when danger is perceived or imagined. Breaking free of such habits is a very difficult process and the simple fact that they are clearly not working has finds it needs considerable will power to overcome the negitive momentium of the entropic habitual default reaction.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    And when I visit Dublin, Mike, I mix with the descendants of Unionist families of the 1890s, some of them my cousins! But the only reason they are not extinct is that they have managed to embrace change and adapt to realities.

  • Mike the First

    Au contraire, it’s you who have failed to think about the parallels because you think “I’m pro-EU, Farage is anti-EU, therefore there can’t possibly be any similarity between us”. I’m not taking about your attitude to the EU.

    If it helps your comprehension, substitute “Union” for “EU” in Farage’s position, and for “UK” in your position.

    Seeing it yet?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    What, pray, is the problem with a Dublin assembly? Do you imagine that somehow Unionism will not have represenattives elected to that assembly proportionate to ther significance and numbers? Its hwo a democracty works. As to “20 years” they had this option in 1920, and trailed their feet over any sensible pragmatic solution then. After having seen how Unionism has acted in regard to the opportunities of power sharing and the Belfast Agreement what do you expect from another 20 years? Certainly ” Holding out reduces the bargaining chips” but I see little sign that anything else is going to be considered as a strategy.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    North Down, take it from me, other than the particular political differences, there was little or no difference culturally across Ireland. That’s why one of the early patrons of Belfast branch of the Gaelic League in the 1890s was Dr Richard Routledge Kane, a high rank memberof the LOI, and an Irish speaker who, dsepite inventing the term “Rome Rule” has even been described as an economic “Irish Irelander.” No, the political differences of our great-grandparents offer the only real area of cultural distance, and even that can be easily over-rated. Many of our percieved cultiral differences only date to the period of the troubles!

  • Gopher

    I don’t know the bubble that these congregationists live in. In the 21st century unionists live or work, or are educated, related or are friends with people who are gay. Fewer and fewer are going to support unionism ahead of personal relationships of whatever nature if they are not treated as equals. It’s absolutely absurd to believe they will.

  • Fear Éireannach

    Really? What is exactly the difference between the culture in Ravensdale and Jonesborough? Between Manorhamilton and Newtownhamilton?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Quite a few of them spoke Irish, in the 16th Division certainly, but also in the 36th. I had this from someone who had fought at Theipval.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    I see that you are entirely missing the point. The fact that we have similar proposals for different things does not imply some sort of congruity – what you are implying would mean, for example, that people wanting to abolish slavery would be similar to people wanting to abolish human rights. Clearly ludicrous, or at best an infantile sort of comparison.

  • Mike the First

    Well yes, it would be.

    But people wanting to break up a political union even after their country has left it…well now that’s a striking similarity.

    Just because you don’t like being likened to Farage, doesn’t actually reduce the parallel that can be drawn.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    And just because you like to make simple-minded comparisons, doesn’t make them any more relevant.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Except that most progressives and liberals favour the Union.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    There are pros and cons to a single unionist party. Personally I think the stronger and more independent that non-DUP pro-Union sentiment is, the stronger unionism is overall. But there is a genuine need to mirror the split within nationalism if getting biggest party is important. It shouldn’t be important really but … So it’s tricky.

    If DUP broadened and expanded to take in some more UUP people on the trad side, moderated its language, and the rest of the UUP, reduced, became liberated as an attractive, clear champion of liberal unionism, that could work. There is no strong future in the right wing side of the DUP continuing to lead unionism. They damage the Union, though they will never see it.

  • johnny lately

    If you could point to any post I made where I said they were paragons of anti-sectarianism I’d be mighty obliged I simply posted in response to Jolly’s “Republicanism’s problem is that everything comes second to their bitter hatred of Protestants” it was your good self who brought in the whataboutery.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I’m having trouble seeing any urbane and civilised Unionist such as, say, Jeff Dudgeon, transfering to the DUP for that very reason. And I’ve come across many such.

  • Tochais Siorai

    If the ‘wee country NI’ doesn’t have a Unionist majority, in what form will that wee country exist?

  • Tochais Siorai

    Mike – an independent Scotland means the UK is ‘completely pulled apart’ by definition. The EU will survive without the UK but once Scotland goes, essentially there is no UK.

    And I don’t know what sort of Scot Nats you’ve been hanging out with but I’ve never met one remotely like Nigel Farage!

  • North Down dup

    It always will

  • David Crookes

    Loyalism and Orangeism are chiefly concerned not with being joined to Britain, but with not being joined to the RoI.

    The religious side of Orangeism is largely negative as well.

    What do you think Orangemen will do if King Charles III decides to become a Roman Catholic?

    He might get away with becoming an atheist, or a Tibetan Buddhist.

  • Rory Carr

    Which parts of your culture do think might need protecting ? Music; dance; poetry; literature; drama; sculpture; painting; traditional dress ? Anything I have left out ? Oh, yes, drinking litres of the vinous product of Catholic monks – fine. But then pissing it off in the grounds of Catholic churches – not really. And if the triumphalism and anti-Catholic obscenity of certain Orange marches can be dropped then I’m sure that they might provide some amusement to onlookers.
    Tiocfaidh Ar Lene !

  • Ray Lawlor

    Really? Where’s the numbers on that? Or is it your felling?

  • the moviegoer

    People in Cork and Antrim spoke the same language, followed the same laws (the Brehon law) and worshipped the same gods since before Christ was born.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    UUP vote is bigger than SDLP vote and if you add pro-Union Alliance voters it is much bigger. Not all UUP voters are progressives but then nor are all SDLP voters. The one main really progressive party, Alliance, is default pro-union. Greens I think also split fairly evenly pro vs anti union. It’s certainly a massive assumption to say it’s hardline unionists vs progressives who line up as anti-Union. Current shenanigans with the DUP may obscure the fact that there are many liberal, progressive pro-Union people across a range of parties. Don’t mistake being anti-DUP with being anti-Union.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I wouldn’t see votes going to Alliance as bad for the Union though; quite the opposite.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Come on, really

  • Ray Lawlor

    Are the SDLP and the UUP “Progressive”??? I never thought that. SDLP are littered with hardcore conservative catholics and the UUP are only progressive when compared to the DUP.

    Alliance and Green… you have a point but they are such a small proportion of the electorate…

    The elephant in the room is Sinn Fein. Are they progressive? It’s hard to say… they are after all a nationalist/populist party. They’ll bend their ideals to suit their aims… I think we all understand that.

    Right now, progressiveness wins votes for them…

    To assume that “most progressives and liberals favour the Union” is off the mark.

  • North Down dup

    What are you on you muppit, my culture will not need protected, there will never be a UI

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I must admit I can’t prove it with figures but with support for the Union at over 60 per cent and UI at somewhere in the 20s, it’s a fair assumption that “progressive” voters split similarly.

  • Ray Lawlor

    Again… those figures are misleading too (I think you’re quoting that Nolan/RTE show from a few years back)…

    The question being answered was “Would you like to see a United Ireland tomorrow”…

    (Key word there is “tomorrow”).

    Given that there hadn’t been any sort of debate on the issue – see Scotlands recent year long debate on it – I’m not surprised at the result (60 no, 20 yes, 20 don’t know).

    However, Brexit is coming and those numbers are going to change.

  • mooncoin

    Could well be that The Newsletter is sniffing the wind of change.

  • David Crookes

    Surely any attempt at a coup, made by nearly any member of the DUP, would represent a superior form of intelligence.

    Superior to the form of intelligence which is being displayed at present, I mean. ‘Everybody put your hands over your eyes, and pretend that it didn’t really happen. Good, good! United we stand. We won a handsome victory. The Leader is always right. Another election may be on the way, so make yourself attractive to our loyal voters. Scowl continually for the cameras in order to demonstrate your superior moral righteousness.’

    The whole debate is being infantilized by zombie-partisans who insist on calling Mrs Foster ‘Arlene’. Two cards are being played: the stupid Orange card, and the Poor Wee Girl card.

    When I was a boy in the early ‘sixties, there was a really excellent Saturday-afternoon TV programme called ‘Bonehead’. I never realized back then that this programme would have such an enormous input into unionist politics.

    Does anyone of equal antiquity recall ‘Garry Halliday’ and ‘Mr Pastry’? Garry Halliday would have terrified our tattooed loyalist paramilitaries out of existence, and Mr Pastry would have led the DUP to embrace magnanimity.

    It broke my heart to discover recently that the BBC had deleted all but one of their ‘Garry Halliday’ tapes, while preserving the whole ghastly, vulgar, sordid, and unfunny corpus of ‘Steptoe and Son’.

    Maybe some of today’s turbulent politicians got their inspiration from that last-named programme.

    Whatever the case, they seem not to realize how abominable their conduct is.

  • Msiegnaro

    It’s interesting the left are seeking Paisley, someone who is “repulsed by gays”.

  • David Crookes

    (Sorry, I forgot. There is only one subject.)

    The left? What left? May we see three or four pieces of evidence which support the assertion that ‘the left’ is ‘seeking’ [to make] Ian Paisley [leader]?

  • Msiegnaro

    There is a preference in Republicanism for Paisley and I thought Republicans were to the left?

  • David Crookes

    Thanks! But the DUP has reached the point at which an appeal to its own right-wing constituency is no longer enough.

  • Msiegnaro

    I don’t get why Paisley is a choice. He lacks ability, charm and is all about self interest remember the Seymour Sweeeney episode? On top of this his views on homosexuality are abhorrent.

  • Tochais Siorai

    How will it exist if it doesn’t have a Unionist majority?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Willie, “relivancy, [and] a proper cause”, needs unpacking, as it could mean almost anything. What particular “relivency” can you be thinking about, and if you are suggesting that “a proper cause” might mean a demand to somehow restore the Union after a UI, how do you even begin to imagine such a thing might be concievable? Even their role as a voice of a particular interest group in the north, is likely to be subsumed into existing southern politics, and that quip about Arlene discovering “her inner Fine Gael” on a much earlier Slugger thread, while it has a delightful irony, is not entirely far fetched for any of us looking at this dispassiontely.

  • David Crookes

    In ability and charm he is at least a match for his present party leader, and for many if not most of NI’s electors what someone thinks about homosexuality is not the most important thing in the world.

    Mind you, Msiegnaro, the wagons have been brought so closely together in recent days that what journalists love to call ‘a leadership bid’ (from IP, or from anyone else) is out the window for the moment.

    But if Mrs Foster is perceived to be damaged beyond repair for the purposes of a second election, she will be summarily defenestrated.

  • Msiegnaro

    There are no obvious replacements but to bring in Paisley would not be welcomed amongst Unionists in general.

  • David Crookes

    There may well be an undesire to go down the dynastic road. In political parties, as in churches, dynasties are no more desirable than dysentery.

  • North Down dup

    It always will have a unionists majority, don’t forget half the people who voted for sdlp or sf , or unionist with a small u

  • Tochais Siorai

    Well, let’s just say I think you might have a better insight into the Unionist voter’s mind rather than his/her nationalist counterpart.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Not just that poll but a regular flow of polls over decades. The most recent asking the question directly were one by Ipsos MORI and one by Lucid Talk in the autumn, both had UI support in the 20s. It will rise I’m sure, but if it gets past 40 come and talk to me again, I’ll have a rethink. I see the Brexit boost for the UI solution peaking around or before 40 per cent. But it depends how much of a Horlicks the Tories make of it. I suspect May and Hammond are trying to build up a bank of credit with the hard Brexiters now so as to better sell to them a pragmatic deal in 2 years’ time. I don’t actually think either wants a hard Brexit. They are playing the politics of it still. Don’t trust appearances on this just yet.

  • David Crookes

    Maybe we should rename the show ‘Pensioners Reddin Their Stummicks’.

  • William Kinmont

    The term ( cause ) was ill conceived my hopes would not be towards a ‘re unification project . My meaning was much more moderate ,perhaps they would become representatives who had at least some influence perhaps returning from Dublin with something to show for their visit, rather than a meaningless photo on Downing street. The quantum leap in getting to this point and carrying their electorate seems impossible but who else would they vote for? Jim ?