Are the DUP sounding “generous and smart” or have they just lost their mojo?

Mick has just credited Arlene Foster and the DUP with making moves toward nationalists which Sinn Fein is struggling to answer.  I see very little that the DUP have done yet that needs an answer. It is not  news that the DUP  don’t want a hard border or that there is a case for some sort of Irish Language  Act, totemic as it is,  particularly when your own contemptuous rejection  whipped up demand for it.  How to answer SF effectively presents the DUP with a different dilemma to the prisoner’s.

If  they concede the power of SF’s  “respect” language  they  risk losing  the chance to rally  their core. If  they adopt it as their own, are  the core and the  waverers they really need to attract  impressed?  Where therefore is DUP authenticity to be found?  And is fighting the Westminster election to win compatible with trying to restore the Assembly?

Language is vital in politics. Just ask “Marine”  the candidate of some a party or other and – what was that surname again? – who lost heavily in the French presidential election.   Emmanuel Macron put the extent of his victory and the severity of her loss to her ranting at him in the presidential TV debate, throwing away at a stroke all the careful detoxifying image building of the Front Nationale over the past five years.  The FN’s “relaunch” and renaming shortly to fight the parliamentary election is seen as necessary but is likely to provoke an internal split between those who insist on reverting to the full fruit of the fascist vine and the modernisers who want to go further towards the centre. This is the familiar dilemma of conviction politics.

Without of course drawing too close a parallel, the DUP  are in a similar bind. How do they broaden their appeal without seeming weak and on the defensive?  Is their pitch being made  more towards to their core to match Sinn Fein’s “surge” in March’s non- Assembly election or  to the wets of Ulster unionism, signalling  that when the chips are down  you know what you have to do?

That shrewd observer of unionist language Sam McBride has written reports  in the Newsletter  on the launch of the DUP election campaign that were at least as interesting as the launch itself. His pieces were suffused with a sense of acute DUP sensitivity that they would have to watch their language without having to change their tune. No easy feat to pull off – and  it showed.

But, in a situation where one word – crocodile – was judged to have driven hordes of voters to Sinn Fein, the DUP now appears to be considering the impact of its language on those who would never vote for DUP candidates.

Mrs Foster said: “In terms of the Irish language act, I said there wouldn’t be an Irish language act in the context of nothing else happening in terms of culture and language.

That contrasts starkly with what Mrs Foster said on February 6 when, to cheers from DUP candidates she said: “I will never accede to an Irish language act.”

“If you feed a crocodile it will keep coming back and looking for more.”

That final line haunted Mrs Foster throughout the campaign and contributed to the surge in support for Sinn Fein which saw the party come just 1,168 votes behind the DUP.

After an electoral battering for unionism in March’s Assembly election, the DUP attempted to frame the general election as a referendum on the future of the Union.

The DUP hopes that it will benefit from the reaction of a unionist electorate shocked at just how strongly Sinn Fein performed in the Assembly election.

Mrs Foster said: “This Westminster election gives unionism the chance to get back on the right track.

Setting out a somewhat contradictory analysis of the election’s significance, Mrs Foster argued: “A general election is not a border poll but it is inevitably a referendum on Northern Ireland’s place in the UK.

The message then has not quite arrived.   From an earlier piece.

 “And of course we have been in the negotiations for some time and we have been putting forward that we need to respect – not just tolerate, but respect – all cultures in Northern Ireland and that includes, of course, the Ulster Scots, the Orange and the British culture and identity and affirmation of identity.

In a backhanded tribute to Sinn Fein here Arlene Foster has been drawn into using the language of “ respect “ that seemed to have been copyrighted by  the republicans and applying it to her  limited version of unionist culture.  This smacks  of me too-ism and a contrived form of  cultural balance.

“ Equality   Respect, Integrity” is the Sinn Fein badge slogan. This theme, struck as the motive for quitting the Assembly will be carried forward into the Westminster campaign.

Last night at  Sinn Fein’s Westminster campaign launch in Newry, the language soared.

Mr Adams noted that while the election had been called to serve “narrow right wing English Tory interests”, it nonetheless provided  “an opportunity to put forward our alternative and to point out that the Democratic Unionist Party and the Ulster Unionist Party are ignoring the vote of the people of the North – their people.”

 “June’s election provides an opportunity to take our republican vision; message of hope in the future, of unity, reconciliation and peace out to the electorate. To raise again the right of citizens to equality and parity of esteem and to fundamental human rights. To demand the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. To stand up for an Irish Language Act and for Irish speakers. To stand up for the right of citizens to marriage equality. To stand up for a Bill of Rights. But it is especially crucial that we stand up to and challenge the disaster that is Brexit.”
There is simply no Unionist equivalent of this. It may be becoming robotic but it will still motivate.

To pick it apart, unionists would be drawn them down a road which they would more instinctively follow, to lambast SF for manufacturing excuses to quit the Assembly and strengthen their vote. All the talk about a denial of human rights is humbug as they’re not remotely threatened.

But the DUP realise  that following that course would make a return to the Assembly even harder.  So they button their lip at the cost of losing authenticity.  They recognise the appeal of a positive language across the board but have yet to develop one of their own. In the meantime, they have condemned themselves to sound like a faint echo of Sinn Fein and faintly apologetic for their own cause.

Instead the DUP could adopt much of the same case as SF in order to defend the Union and prepare it for the Brexit future.  But that seems more than they can either swallow or originate.  Perhaps Mrs Foster  can be forgiven for not knowing how far she needs to go  to do the trick with Sinn Fein. She’ll be aware that they have her own position in hand as a hedge against success.

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  • Karl

    The DUP have recommended Brexit to the region most negatively affected by it. They themselves recognise it by saying they want to fight for the best deal from brexit they can get for NI. Theyre about to find out how badly they miscalculated.
    They also want a soft border. There is no such thing. There will either be a hard border at newry or one at cairnryan.
    Do they plump for one at newry, harmful to the people of NI or one at Cairnryan, harmful to their vision of NI within the union.
    Either way they are about to be exposed repeatedly on every issue where May chooses Britain over NI. There will be many.
    FG may be able to deliver for NI. The DUP sure as hell cant.

  • JOHN TURLEY

    The biggest blow to all the Unionists is that when the election is over they will have no more say than the Shinners who do not even sit in the chamber.Mrs May is heading for a cofrontation with Europe, the North
    and Ireland will suffer most.with tariffs and a hard border.

  • Nevin

    “There is simply no Unionist equivalent of this. It may be becoming robotic but it will still motivate.”

    Brian, mopery does seem to go down well with the Shinner sheep. I’m not quite sure why you are apparently endorsing Gerry ‘break the bastards’ Adams and his ‘soaring language’.

  • Brian Walker

    nevin I’m not endorsing him. I’m acknowledging the appeal that worked on 2 March and saying that the DUP’s reply so far isn’t convincing. You can hardly be surprised language like this works.

  • 1729torus

    There has been tension between the secular and the pious in the DUP since all those UUP members joined in the early 2000s, this came to a head with the Jonathon Bell affair last year.

    Mr. Walker is describing a serious problem with any kind of pan-Unionist front, and not just a “big tent” Unionist party. Any such entity is exclusively defined by what it’s against: a United Ireland. It finds it hard to get everyone on board with a positive vision, so all it can do is shout “NO! NO! NO!”.

    In addition, any kind of change will upset someone, meaning that the pan-Unionist entity might lose votes and transfers in the next elections. This risks SF gaining votes or even getting the First Ministers chair and/or a Nationalist majority. Change should therefore be kept to the barest possible minimum

    In general, these entities will be ossified and reactionary as a rule.

    Look at the SNP for a more benign and mild example of this phenomena.

  • mickfealty

    I don’t know, is the honest answer Brian. But can you suggest one single downside to the idea that the DUP have lost their mojo? If you’re shouting, you’re not listening.

    If you’re not listening, you won’t hear the landslip coming up ahead of you.

  • Zorin001

    “There has been tension between the secular and the pious in the DUP since all those UUP members joined in the early 2000s, this came to a head with the Jonathon Bell affair last year.”

    I think this also explained Arlene’s reaction to the whole affair as well, I felt she was taking such a tough line as to shore up support within her own party due to 3 reasons: Being Ex-UUP, not being a Free P and (most shockingly) being a woman!

  • Nevin

    Brian, you could have called it blarney.

  • Nevin

    “Setting out a somewhat contradictory analysis”

    A curious choice of intro to the final paragraph by Sam. A border poll involves voters in Ireland and Northern Ireland whereas a Westminster election gives an indication of the relative strengths of unionism, nationalism and ‘whatever you’re having yourself’ in Northern Ireland.

  • Brian Walker

    Mick, they don’t have to listen very hard to hear SF not moving an inch. What I suspect you really want to say is that SF is conning the public and are getting away with it. They celebrate the lack of challenge by using inspirational language of the left to keep the troops whipped up. And it works too. How often have we seen it written in in Slugger? Its better than May’s” strong and stable government”.

    A Martian would list SF characteristics as: cunning and just under the skin often fanatic having been ,schooled for generations in an insurgent conspiracy but now presenting confidently, even personably in many cases, with a strong identification with community, having the zeitgeist and momentum with them, expressing a viable culture. On closer examination strings are pulled by old gangster elite, so who are they really?

    The DUP are surly,often rude and ill at ease outside the comfort zone and negative, with a limited backward looking culture much tied to a remnant of old time religion mid-west Republicans would recognise but has almost died out elsewhere,in the UK. They are desperate for recognition by a British establishment that at best regards them as quaint and only technically British . Most not all are embarrassing as representatives of their community to the outside world. It’s a puzzle that they’ve moved from left wing populist to right wing populist as a party or movement relying on working class support. They are now fogeyish and frankly boring, now that the eccentric Paisley senior has gone, leaving little of his old age conversation to heartfelt reconciliation behind him.
    While there a has been some quiet seepage in the direction of both of them, most of the respectable middle class would not like to admit voting for either of them. and so like the old Blairite multitude in England, are effectively disenfranchised ., ,

    The DUP’s position is in comparison hesitant and reactive And being nowadays on the right, that sort of language doesn’t appeal to them anyway.

    But do you hear one single positive message from the DUP to get the troops out? Have I missed something?

    Understandably the DUP don’t intend to attack SF head-on for the hypocrisy and insincerity they surely feel about SF, for fear of wrecking any slim chances for restoring the Assembly fairly quickly.

    But they could clear a good deal of SF’s demands without harming their essential position if they had the guts to do it.

    Do they have an actual position on the language and culture? Apart from being against rewriting history, are they shifting on funding tthe inquests? What are there reasons for continuing to oppose an NI Bill of Rights? Do they have a line on Brexit apart from waiting on the results of the negotiations? Will they favour voters with anything on these big issues or keep them close to themselves for any actual negotiations?
    To show up SF’s lack of engagement, it isn’t necessary to give the DUP too much credit for moving a millimetre. If its intended to seize the intiative, they’ve offered pretty thin material so far. Safer to keep talking softly about unionist unity emerging all by itself to keep the hacks interested

  • Brian Walker

    No I’,m serious Nevin. The GFA is imbued with the human rights agenda of the modern world. By adopting it SF are obviously impressing the young and those with short memories. It’s an effective position. The bad old habit of always fastening on the underlying motives and ignoring what;’s on the surface destroys any prospect of serious engagement. It shows a fundamental lack of – what’s the word – respect? – for the other party and the process of negotiation itself. .

  • Aengus Millen

    This is the absolutely key point. “the DUP could clear a good deal of SF’s demands without harming their essential position” if they had a bit of sense they would do that it would be the best they could do to protect the union.

  • Nevin

    “But the DUP could clear a good deal of SF’s demands without harming their essential position if they had the guts to do it.”

    Perhaps you should consider reviewing your metaphor for NI politics, Brian. I still think the tug-of-war one is apt so any demands made by SF are most likely to be either opposed by the DUP or matched by counter demands.

    If you recall Arlene and Martin submitted a joint letter to the Government re.Brexit but that was before BBC NI Spotlight set off its RHI incendiary device.

    The DUP counter on language, culture and identity is a culture act – something more for the culture warriors to get their teeth into.

  • Korhomme

    I still don’t understand why the DUP went for Brexit. Can anyone explain the thinking behind their decision? — I can’t call it logic.

  • Karl

    A bit like Boris who saw a weak Remain vote as weakening Cameron as Tory leader, the DUP saw Brexit as a chance to mix it with the big boy Tories and at the same time wrap the Union flag around them and be mean about some europeans, never thinking for a second the Nigel and the loopers would win and expose their hubris.
    Doh.

  • Korhomme

    That ‘too clever by half’ certainly makes sense.

    I didn’t think the DUP had the brains for such stuff.

  • Nevin

    Brian, I wouldn’t label the Provisional Republican Moment and it’s political wing’s stance on human rights as either impressive or respectful but as abject hypocrisy.

    As for the young, why does the media just point the finger at the churches and other institutions re.child abuse/indoctrination whilst seemingly ignoring the activities of loyalist and republican paramilitaries.

  • Karl

    Given the result, it appears that they dont.

  • mickfealty

    We can be too mechanistic about these things Brian and in doing so we can miss the importance of changing the stories and myths we all of us live or are reluctantly governed by.

    I remember heading to school to pick the kids up when Labour won the general election in ’97, with a noticeable spring in my step. A Croatian friend scolded that Labour would do nothing for me.

    My response was that I didn’t want them to do anything for me, but I was happy that it would end the Tories decrepit ‘fin de siecle’ story that single parents were the cause of the end of civilisation.

    More importantly, I said, it would make way for the telling of new stories (which, of course would eventually run out of steam and disappoint). Stories matter. And much more than we like to think.

    Look at the effect of the Crocodile theme earlier in the year, and contrast it with the soothing effects of her praising the Irish language in a Newry Catholic Grammar.

    Here’s Bryan Delaney (https://goo.gl/WmWUTB)…

    “…this much is true, whether through our perceptions or something deeper, the story that inhabits us has an uncanny knack of manifesting itself in the world… “

    Then later:

    “Hamlet said, there is nothing either good or bad but that thinking makes it so…'”

    Finally, Gregory Bateson (https://goo.gl/h8vYgY):

    “We are most of us governed by epistemologies that we know to be wrong.”

    So back to the grind. I’m not convinced by most of the stories emanating from the Stormont Castle nexus as an excuse for this or previous breakdowns. It never quite adds up.

    On the Bill of Rights, both parties tried consultation and even the then HR Commission said it was too overreaching to be implemented. Did they move to implement a more modest one?

    Nope, it was left in a ditch, like some old discarded cigarette thrown carelessly from a speeding car.

    On the Irish language act, this ball was in SF’s court for the longest time when in government and they did nothing but put out a tentative consultation which offered not even a skeleton plan.

    Mairtin’s belated offer of a cheap Scottish model has put something in play that wasn’t in play before because of indefinable costs of the more extensive justiciable Welsh version.

    We both know that neither party is really up for dealing with legacy in any way that would satisfy the maximal promises that have been made to relatives and victims.

    There’s a case for having a Political Relate agency, so they can get therapy every time things breaks down. They’ve BOTH been colluding at it by repeating the narrow stories they tell their bases.

    I think the DUP’s instinct to get out of the hole it is in by telling better stories is a promising start, not an end. The least damaging thing SF could do right now is to find some way to reciprocate.

    I’m just not convinced they have enough genuine story tellers.

  • Brian Walker

    A preference for the massively bigger British single market over the EU single market – no that this was the choice. Sharing Tory instincts against foreigners ( Rome rule lives!), warily trusting the Tories to deliver in preference to getting mixed up with the south and risking getting trapped in a UI project. I read that a majority of farmers voted Leave as they hate the bureaucracy of the CAP and look out towards the Chinese market. Good luck to them in that. But actually, the Leave decision was a fairly close call, I believe. The financially literate Simon Hamilton almost certainly voted Remain

  • Korhomme

    So the DUP vision ends just south of Newry? That’s no surprise, nor is the idea that they are insular and that NI is exceptionalism at it’s worst.

    The map of who voted is clear: DUP heartlands up to the Glens, and areas remote from the border were all Brexit — except for the radical republican agenda along the Gold Coast.

    Is the CAP that awful for farmers? I thought that 87% of their income came from the EU. If that’s correct, how will they survive in a couple of years?

    I’m slightly reassured that there might be sensible voices in the DUP, even if not in the majority.

  • Brian Walker

    Mick, You’re the bard, I’m the utilitarian.Your examples show how much work remains to be done.

    The DUP I reckon are behind the curve of public opinion but enough unionists prefer the nurse of the DUP for fear of something worse from SF.
    .
    There is indeed a strong case for a mediation process against further breakdown and it is now under discussion in academe.

    Just on a further point of detail. The HR commissioner Brice Dickson did indeed find that a separate all singing all dancing NI Bill of Rights was unnecessary because of the entrenchnent of the UK Human Rights Act in the GFA.
    But there is now a good case for reviving it in some form, as Theresa May has flirted with replacing it for anti-jihadist reasons. Her most recent assurances for keeping the HR Act are strictly time limited. And this despite the fact that change would be fiercely opposed by the governments of the Republic and Scotland and even a fair proportion of Conservative MPs in the last Parliament.

  • Nordie Northsider

    British nationalism, in short.

  • Zig70

    400 thousand reasons, wasn’t it?

  • Korhomme

    Was it? You have lost me.

  • eireanne3

    there was also the issue of moving funds around,

    Why did the DUP spend so much campaigning to leave the European Union?
    And where did they get all the money to do so?
    The likely answers take you down into a loophole in UK electoral law that allows dark money to flow through Northern Irish politics, and into the British system.

    https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/peter-geoghegan-adam-ramsay/you-aren-t-allowed-to-know-who-paid-for-key-leave-campaign-adverts

  • lizmcneill

    So many brown envelopes leading to the DUP.

  • Fear Éireannach

    I think the DUP vision ends at the junction between the Armagh road and the Newry bypass.
    As for the bureaucracy of the CAP, some paperwork to get money isn’t a bad idea and traceability type paperwork will be needed in any case.

  • mickfealty

    In some form, yes. The problem with Mrs May’s mission is that she’s in sticky territory trying to remove rights already granted by Parliament. I’m with former AG Dominic Grieve in that regard.

    A lot of political sweat was expended on having our own Bill at the time, but I’m not sure any of its proponents have developed a common or attractive agenda around it. What we have are slogans like “up with this sort of thing”.

  • mickfealty

    If so, he certainly wasn’t the only one I know of…

  • Nevin

    “Stories matter. And much more than we like to think.

    Look at the effect of the Crocodile theme earlier in the year, and contrast it with the soothing effects of her praising the Irish language in a Newry Catholic Grammar.”

    The crocodile theme wasn’t a story; it was reaction to a question, a reaction she later regretted. I’d put that down to personal temperament – and the old red mist syndrome!

    Here’s what she had to say about her visit:

    “I was really uplifted this morning by the girls and what they were able to tell me and what they were able to show me.”

    “It was wonderful, I just had a great morning. It has set me up for the rest of the day.”

    “One of the very strong things that came across was the passion that the girls had for the language.”

    Mrs Foster added: “It is really good to strip away all the politics out of this issue and just to listen in a very clear way as to how Irish and the language has helped in the study of other languages and to give them a head start in relation to job opportunities as well.”

    Perhaps the culture warriors could learn something from the nature of the school’s invitation and follow-up:

    https://twitter.com/OLSNewry/status/857260457719193602

  • Enda

    Look, look at us, look how British we are!!!!!

  • mickfealty

    However it began, it became a story, and one that acquired considerable embellishment along the way (as stories almost always do in the retelling).

    In the same way this is also a story, and a much better one than the DUP has been telling about the Irish language for many many years now, as has been very well illustrated out by some of our shrewder nationalist commenters in another thread.

  • Marcus Orr

    “Is the CAP that awful for farmers? I thought that 87% of their income came from the EU. If that’s correct, how will they survive in a couple of years?”
    UK pays 20 billion £ gross in, UK gets 12 billion £ back (that’s including the 350 £ million that NI farmers get).
    Net UK pays 8 £ billion in. So the money doesn’t come from the EU. It goes from UK taxpayers to Brussels, swills around there a bit, and then some of it (but not much of it) comes back to us in the form of the CAP payments.

  • Lex.Butler

    The DUP, like everyone else, assumed Remain would win. They never expected to be in this mess.

  • Nevin

    Arlene’s reaction became a story but it wasn’t Arlene’s story and her warm response to the Newry invitation and visit was a part of her language, culture and identity story. Partisan commenters will warm to some parts and castigate others.

    I feel very comfortable with David Ross’ “Scottish Place-Names” where all linguistic influences are given equal billing but I just can’t warm to the largely monoglot approach to place-name study here. The Ross approach stimulates the curiosity whereas cherry-picking is a real turn off.

  • mickfealty

    In this in-the-round, cold-coded digital space, as John Seeley Brown puts it:

    We’re moving from a sense of “I am what I wear/own/control” to “I am what I create, share and others build on.” How do I put something into play so others build on it?

    The things we do become our stories, often out of our control and in the hands of opponents. It leaves less space for controlling the narrative than in the old centralised command and control model.

  • Korhomme

    The crocodile remark was an instantaneous response, and as such reflected the ‘espoused’ thinking, rather than the more politically correct ‘expressed’ view.

    Which, if you take if further, suggests that (some in) the DUP see themselves as the true successors to the old unionists at Stormont; and (that some) see uppity proles who have to be put in their place. A reactionary movement, harking ever backwards to an age that exists only in imagination. Where is the real politick or future in that?

    And that (some in) the DUP understand only one word of ‘power sharing’.

  • Korhomme

    That seems a general view here; now, how do we get out of this mess?

    Do the Republic trick of more referendums until the ‘right’ answer comes out?

  • Nevin

    “In-the-round, cold-coded digital space” is a foreign language to me; I’ve no idea what it means and so my curiosity isn’t stimulated.

    JSB’s two senses, in so far as I understand them, have always co-existed.

    I only share some of the things that I do so some of my stories may well carry other people’s names. Some may even have been stolen for party political purposes!

  • mickfealty

    Now we’ve confused each other, let’s call it quits?

  • Nevin

    Korhomme, you have constructed a scenario devoid of the question, questioner and context in which the response was uttered.

    In recent times, power-sharing at Stormont wasn’t sharing; it was carving up. In earlier times, power-sharing in local councils was a con, a sharing of a few baubles but majority voting prevailed.

  • Trasna

    Of course, Britain won’t suffer at all.

  • Korhomme

    Nevin, you question my ‘scenario’; I say that what people can say on the spur of the moment, when they’ve not fully considered any implications, offer a way into their preferred way of thinking.

    It’s similar to ‘free association’ that psychologists might use:

    I’m going to say a few words, I want to hear the first thing that comes into your mind.

    Q: Shinners

    A: Crocodiles

    Is there anything really wrong with my scenario?

    Is it correct that the accompanist of power sharing is ‘responsibility sharing’? And is there any of that around?

  • Korhomme

    After Brexit, are we sure that farmers will get the same or a similar level of support from the UK government?

  • Nevin

    Korhomme, your scenario, as I’ve already pointed out, doesn’t contain those three key elements.

    I’ve often linked rights and responsibilities but somehow they’ve become disconnected. Sharing is pretty limited in the political realm. However, a common foe sometimes produces multi-party co-operation.

  • Fear Éireannach

    Not much comes to NI at present, less will come in the future.

  • Korhomme

    I can see that we’re not going to agree. However, why is taking a ‘free association’ concept wrong? A ‘free association’ doesn’t need things in context — the opposite really — rather it’s a way into the subconscious, the ‘what I truly believe’. Politicians, after all, are masters of saying things that sound sincere while at the same time playing to their home audience, and finding out where their real instincts are from such coded language can be difficult.

    Are my conclusions wrong of themselves, or wrong because the conclusions I draw aren’t to your liking?

  • Nevin

    I have a problem with your presumption of free association in this particular story.

    “I’m going to say a few words, I want to hear the first thing that comes into your mind.”

    Those few words could be in the question posed and the response would be influenced by the words themselves, the tone in which they were delivered, the relationship to the questioner as well as the overall context. There are too few pieces of this jig-saw for me to draw any conclusion.

  • Zig70
  • Skibo

    Doesn’t anybody here realise that there are enough Nelsons and Gregorys within the DUP who would do anything to ensure the border is more defined and would be prepared to sell the prosperity of future generations to do it?

  • Marcus Orr

    No, that would be a govt. decision. The only thing we are sure about is that the British state has more money in the coffers, to the tune of 8-10 billion £ net per year, because the taxpayer is not paying for farmers in France, Spain, Italy, and the other EU countries any more, and is not paying for the Brussels admin.
    It would be a matter of negotiation between local devolved govt. and the central govt., knowing that the central govt. would actually have much more than before, so could potentially send more support to farmers than before.

  • aquifer

    The money came from a “Constitutional Research Council”, with links to foreign states. https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/adam-ramsay-peter-geoghegan/secretive-dup-brexit-donor-links-to-saudi-intelligence-service

  • Reader

    Korhomme: I can see that we’re not going to agree. However, why is taking a ‘free association’ concept wrong?
    Here’s a tiny free association test for you to take in complete privacy:
    “Protestant”
    [The etymology is interesting too]

  • Korhomme

    Tried the test. The one word answer was:

    Luther.

    (I do know the etymology of ‘Protestant’.)

    But I’ll never think of crocodiles in quite the same way again.