DUP hostility to Others (the root of our political crisis) gets a British airing

Undoubtedly the most intriguing aspect of the early post-election period has been how the British public has been introduced to the DUP by a mainstream media in Britain which clearly gave the party little or no attention in the past.

The long list of controversial comments about gays, Muslims, Catholics and other Others has even been making front page news as the DUP experiences the heat associated with fifteen minutes of fame.

The underlying theme remains one of a party struggling to accept the legitimacy of Others, something of which we are very aware.

Stormont’s collapse earlier this year was the inevitable consequence of the DUP’s unwillingness to embrace a vision of a shared and equal society in the north of Ireland.

Coming to terms with Others or, rather, the party’s failure to so do, continues to be the primary impediment to progress.

The party’s approach to dealing with the past, its record in government in present times and visions for the future are at odds with the logical outworkings of a Good Friday Agreement which placed parity of esteem at the heart of the multi-stranded constitutional framework carefully crafted to begin to allow a stable, more normal society and body politic to gradually take root and flourish. Failing to accept that Northern Ireland’s only viable future is one which must fully recognise both the Irishness of their neighbours and the Britishness of themselves continues to be the primary obstacle holding us all back.

The opposition to an Irish Language Act agreed at St Andrews is but one example. The actions of the DUP Communities Minister in cynically shutting down the Liofa bursary whilst brazenly concocting a Communities Hall funding scheme to filter funds to the Loyal Orders illustrates a party steadfastly holding to a mindset that places the preservation of the British and Unionist identity and people as a privileged caste as the defining object of their endeavours. And that is before we mention the party’s ridiculously supremacist argument holding that Loyal Order parades must be permitted to proceed when and where requested by virtue of a universal freedom denied to the Other- and, on cue, Portadown LOL 1 have already been out to proclaim their expectation that the DUP use their leverage to reopen the toxic Drumcree parading dispute.

The announcement that Theresa May’s beleaguered Conservative Party has attached its wagon to the DUP is not a surprise. The numbers are far from ideal, and they do not appear likely to get the Tories to the point of a Brexit deal, but they are the best of a bad situation for now.

From a nationalist perspective, and that of many informed observers, there will be a sense of wariness that the deal that has been struck can only be one which involves the Tories acquiescing to DUP demands that will further an agenda incompatible with the letter and spirit of the Good Friday Agreement- and hence the strong sense of foreboding emanating from various political quarters, including Richard Haass and Shaun Woodward.

In the past, British Governments have been more than willing to indulge the DUP’s sectarian agenda. When the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, was attempting to entice DUP Leader Ian Paisley into agreeing a deal with Sinn Fein in 2006, the British Government agreed to set up a cynical sectarian funding initiative aimed at addressing problems in working-class areas…with the proviso that they were protestant . It was about sectarianizing poverty, a mindset which continues to inform the DUP’s approach to governance.

Prior to the Westminster election in 2015, when there was a firm expectation that a hung parliament could be the outcome after polling, the DUP produced a document outlining their priorities, and this provides an insight into the party leadership’s thinking at this time.

The DUP’s ‘Past’ agenda includes seeking to impose a definition of ‘victim’ which is compatible exclusively with a unionist interpretation of our past, and the party is also supportive of highly contentious efforts by some Conservative backbenchers and others to provide an effective amnesty for former British Forces members involved in violence including murder during the conflict.

On the ‘Present’, the party is looking to impose statutory protection for the flying of British flags and symbols, whilst it also wants the British Armed Forces Covenant imposed on the north without agreement from nationalists. The notion that British armed forces members would have priority in accessing NHS healthcare, social housing and educational entitlements would simply be explosive in a society in which unionist politicians have stood accused of opposing or seeking to thwart attempts to address social housing waiting lists in nationalist communities for purely sectarian reasons.

The DUP document includes the removal of Westminster allowances funding for MPs refusing to take an oath of loyalty to the British Queen. However, given that this would now apply to all non-unionist MPs elected, it would be hard to see a British Government acceding to this request.

And yet, for all of that, Irish republicans will be quite comfortable with the idea that the notion of a British government acting as an independent arbitrator on Irish affairs has been erased with this move.

Republicans are well placed to argue for talks to be suspended until an independent, international chairperson can be appointed to fulfil the role that can not be undertaken by a British Secretary of State attached at the hip to the DUP.

Furthermore, any deal is likely to involve a public commitment that the British Government will not introduce as part of their arrangement with the DUP any measures which undermine the letter and spirit of the Good Friday Agreement.

In the end, the public face of a Tory-DUP deal will major on a shared Brexit vision and fiscal measures for Northern Ireland. But the sense of what lies beneath will not go away. Whether that helps fix minds on working a deal in the short term or encourages a cautious approach moving resolution into the medium or long-term, we will find out.

 

  • Gaygael

    I will enjoy responding to your nonsense tonight after work.

  • Marcus Orr

    Thank you for those warm words of fellowship.

  • Gaygael

    I don;t really have fellowship for those that try to pink wash my oppression.

  • Marcus Orr

    “He was the group leader at that Council ”

    Well that changes everything – Mr Paul McClean is a senior figure within the DUP, a household name one might say…

    “Deputy Mayor of Derry and Strabane more recently and his nonsense”

    The deputy Mayor of Derry and Strabane merely said something which is fairly standard Christian theology, if he happens to be a Christian, I see personally no reason why he should be ashamed to articulate his views on the subject, which are after all rather standard Christian views – that all have sinned, that homosexuality is a sin (one of very many sins) and that forgiveness and change is possible for all.

    At the same time, if he does express his views, everyone else has the good right to criticise him and challenge him on those views, we live after all (thank God) in a free society, at least that’s what I was led to believe. So good on him, and good on his critics for responding. The only dangerous folk are those who would try to suppress or shame free speech, but I’m sure you’re not one of that sort.

    Robo essentially said “let’s go back to locking up gays” ? Are you really sure about that ?

    “More extreme than the BNP.” Are you sure about that ?

  • Marcus Orr

    Well, try to force a little goodwill then.
    I still haven’t said anything myself personally about homosexuality, neither positive nor negative, and I’ve nothing against you.

  • Pmac1999

    36% or is ok to add 4% to suit your argument

  • Backbencher

    I think Croiteir has just made my point.

  • Mark Dowling

    Traditional views are about as much help to NI as “traditional routes”

  • mickfealty

    Post hoc procter hoc Chris. The crisis starts and ends in Martin’s fatal illness, and the lack of and adequate replacement to plausibly handle the DUP. And if you ask the public representatives of ‘others’, they are in little doubt about that.

  • mickfealty

    Post hoc procter hoc Chris. The crisis starts and ends in Martin’s fatal illness, and the lack of and adequate replacement to plausibly handle the DUP. And if you ask the public representatives of ‘others’, they are in little doubt about that.

  • grumpy oul man

    Surely only someone whose philosophy is based on inequality can be threatened by equality.
    As i said before the KKK are threatened by equality.
    The Afrikaans goverment was threatened by equality.
    So why do unionists see it as a threat.
    For the third time i ask give us details,
    1/How equality can be weaponised.
    2/A example of this weapon being employed.

  • grumpy oul man

    How many poots and well or wee Ians are they ranking enough for you.

  • Heather Kiernon

    I fully understand what you’re trying to put across. The same would be true with any Northern Ireland party involved with the Conservatives or labour. As the British government must not have a bias in Northern Ireland.

  • Gaygael

    The World Health organisation has been very clear in its articulation that denying equality to LGBT people can exacerbate risk of poorer mental health and suicide. No professional body related to psychology or psychiatry supports the harmful nonsense spouted by the Deputy mayor.

    I’m all for free speech but you must be aware that rights incur responsibilities. In this instance, spouting dangerous and harmful nonsense which exacerbates a communities risk of poorer mental health is a fine line.

  • Gaygael

    Through the looking glass indeed here. Defenders of homophobes trying to rubbish queer activists calling people out. Try look at the Panti Bliss story for some education. The oppressors (or their defenders) do not get to tell those they oppress what names are apt.

    So let’s look at the DUP record.
    The DUP opposed decriminalisation and launched ‘Save Ulster from Sodomy’.
    They opposed the GFA which included equality duties on sexual orientation.
    They opposed equalising the age of consent.
    They opposed lgbt people surviving in the armed forces.
    They opposed non-discrimination in employment.
    They opposed non-discrimination in goods facilities and services.
    They opposed civil partnerships.
    They opposed gender recognition and attendant equality legislation.
    They common denominator is not that they changed position, but rather they lost every single one of these.

    3 different DUP ministers dragged their heels on the blood ban. Poots got battered in court on blocking adoption for same-sex and unmarried couples and lost. They have delayed a sexual orientation strategy since 2007. They have abused the petition of concern by vetoing same-sex marriage 5 times. Arlene tried to interfere in Scottish marriage conversions.

    Now replace those equality pieces with gender, disability or racial equality. What would we call a party that opposed every single piece of equality legislation on race? Rightly, we would call them Racists. If they apologised for the blood on their hands and sincerely sought to make up for it, we wouldn’t.

    The commonly held understanding of homophobe is someone who fears, dislikes or treats unfavourable those of minority orientation. Blocking equality at every turn fits the bill. I call them it not to silence them. I call them it because all the evidence suggests they are. The DUP are homophobes.

  • Patrick Mac

    Gay marriage – where one man and one woman are joined together in Holy Matrimony, then live happily ever after.
    Gay means ‘happy’.

  • Gaygael

    If you have no numbers or statistics, why have you got such a dog in this race? Think you for granting me equality in very proscribed circumstances. What if my boyfriend is Scottish? Or we met in Scotland but live here? Or his family are in Scotland?

    A cursory look at some opinion polls, conducted by Amnesty or Life and Times might provide you with the basis of public opinions before you spend too much energy on this issue.

    We would win a referendum easily. The LGBT Sector are opposed to a referendum. The failure of the 5 establishment parties to bring forward a sexual orientation strategy means that despite being a section 75 group, the last time the LGBT sector accessed money was from a Labour Secretary of State in 2007. The Sector is stretched and too busy saving lives to divert vital resources to a glorifies opinion poll. The South was a different ballgame.

    They have clearly articulated their reasons. I concur. Primarily, because being treated as equal should not be put to a referendum. Secondly, I don;t think unleashing the hate and bile of people like Poots, Wells and Allister on vulnerable queer kids will lead to deaths.

  • Gaygael

    Thanks Patrick. if you don’t like it, don’t marry someone of the same sex.

  • Heather Kiernon

    Most people in the United Kingdom outside of Northern Ireland, do not understand Northern Ireland politics or where it comes from! So they start with the obvious choice that everyone will understand. Is this the right area to concentrate on probably not, But people need to start somewhere. let’s look at what could come out of this in a positive manner. The more people looking at Northern Ireland the more people will learn as a whole, they will look further than what’s just put two them. I myself am an example of this, as you may have noticed I have an Irish surname. But grew up without my father in my life so he was never there to inform me of Irish politics. So I’ve been doing my due diligence I’m trying to do research into the matter. This is how I happened to stumble across this site, which I’ve been finding very informative on the matter with as it has more than one viewpoint. Which in turn is helping me gain a much better understanding on the background information for the politics.

  • Heather Kiernon

    As someone who’s grown up in England I find this so wrong! In schools religion should just have a place in re lessons unless it comes up in history then it becomes acceptable again. To me it seems like a form of brainwashing. Before you think I’m an atheist you would be wrong. I go to church and my children all attended Sunday school which I think it’s important to know their own religion. But for any subject to have a dominance in what’s being taught at school is where I see a problem!

  • Patrick Mac

    My liking, or disliking it is not what matters. What matters is its societal impact upon the rest of us, in particular children and young people.

    In addition, what further demands will be made by the so-called ‘gay community’ after legalising as its already being pushed in schools, the media, etc? Its nothing more than a vehicle for the destruction of Western civility and the Church.

  • Casper

    Spot-on.

  • Casper

    I wonder if your opinions would change if you ever have gay/lesbian relatives. Perhaps a gay grandchild in the future might make you rethink things? Or would you dis-own them?

  • Patrick Mac

    Oh, that old argument …

    It wouldn’t surprise me if there were a sizeable percentage within the same so-called ‘community’ who were against this gay marriage thing. They probably just go along with the ride (no pun intended).

  • Gaygael

    I’m just trying to live my life honey. A more equal society is a healthier and happier one. I’m fighting tooth and nail for it.

    I (like Ganhdi) think Western Civilisation would be a good idea. As for your church, keep it to yourself. I will defend your right to it.

  • Marcus Orr

    You have to remember that I said 40% in the seats that they contested…did the DUP contest Fermanagh/South Tyrone ?

  • William Kinmont

    Have a look at the Caleb foundation and the Dup

  • Gaygael

    There is a sizeable opinion against marriage amongst LGBT people. It’s from a range of opinions, including, feminists arguing against the intrinsic patriarchal conservatism of marriage, queer sexual liberationists who don’t think we should mimic hetronormaitivity.

    You should go meet those people for a real eye-opener. Say hi to your queer grand kids and great grand kids.

  • Gaygael

    I gave those two Cllr examples.
    I can refer you to MLAs and MPs if that’s useful?

    I have been happily sharing this with as many people as I can in the rest of the UK.

  • Croiteir

    what point?

  • Marcus Orr

    “Defenders of homophobes”

    Useless smear. I thought we had a chat about this before, trying to silence people opposed to your point of view by saying that they have a pathology – an irrational fear or hatred of homosexual people – is the height of ignorance and intolerance.

    “The oppressors”

    Come of it – someone who criticises gay marriage or who says they are personally “repulsed” by homosexuality is not oppressing anyone. You can fire back and state you own point of view anytime. What is sinister is the new situation in which queer activists are trying to silence free speech from any and every opponent.

    Good for the DUP on a good many of those points you listed – apart from the decriminalisation of homosexuality – which I wholeheartedly approve of, and the non-discrimination in employment (no idea what that’s about) I would agree with the DUP on just about all the above points, and that’s even without having any “pathology” – I like gay people. To try and shame and silence them as if they don’t even have the right to articulate their views on the matter, is shameful behaviour.

    “Now replace those equality pieces with gender, disability or racial equality”
    You cannot equate homosexuality with racial equality or gender, because it is a physical act, something that a person does or is inclined to do. No-one can change the colour of their skin, but a person may choose whether he wants to engage in sexual activity or not. A personal choice is involved.
    Secondly the gay gene has never been found yet, so “I’m born that way” remains anecdotal and subjective, not objective.
    Thirdly if some day the gay gene is eventually found and we can say that gay people are naturally and genetically inclined to homosexuality, so what ? Many things have been genetically proven, e.g. some people are naturally more inclined to violent aggressive fits than other people. There is such as thing as genetic disposition to anger and rage. In that case, when I give in to my natural inclination and beat my wife black and blue, that’s ok because I was born that way ? Er, no. (note for someone trying to be intentionally ignorant and twist my words: I did not just compare gay people to wife-beaters).
    Just because some inclination comes naturally that tells us nothing about whether it is good to act on said inclination, or not. Some people are compulsive thieves, but they shouldn’t act on this inclination (note for ignorant people: I didn’t compare gay people to thieves).
    For all these reasons, there is no comparison between racial equality and homosexual “equality” with heterosexuality.
    All men are born equal, regardless of their skin. Homosexuality is an act (as is heterosexuality). Live and let live by all means, and let homosexuals “marry” as well if they wish – what do I care ? But you are asking for something else – state recognition. Marriage is an institution that existed long before the state or govt. existed, and it exists whether the state wishes to recognize it or not. About 100 years ago all the western states started for the 1st time to give official state or govt. recognition to marriage, they didn’t need to, but they decided that it was important to do that, and to give certain advantages in tax credits & allowances for married couples, inheritance law, etc., etc. The state did this recognition for one reason, because it believed that it was important to “sponsor” and elevate marriage BECAUSE it carried out an important role for society – namely for the pro-creation and bringing up of the next generation (the future of any country) by the mother and father in a stable relationship. Now homosexuals want exactly the same official state recognition for “homosexual” marriage, that it is to be seen as completely equal in value and has the same benefits to society as heterosexual marriage has, and so deserves the same tax and inheritance breaks etc., as it also plays an important role like heterosexual marriage in pro-creating & bringing up the next generation of….oh wait, there’s something wrong here, can you spot what it is ? That’s right, we treat 2 things equally….watch this…if they ARE equal in all relevant respects.

  • Marcus Orr

    They didn’t say they wanted to ban homosexuality.
    (look, sometimes it’s best to just give in, we both know you struck out with your false claim, don’t keep digging the hole…)

  • Gaygael

    That’s a diatribe. Did press right that for you?

  • Marcus Orr

    Who’s “press” ?

  • Marcus Orr

    A diatribe is an angry or violent writing/speech that aggressively criticises its subject.
    Actually it was not an angry piece at all, I was feeling rather mellow as I wrote that. I indicated that I liked gay people too, did you miss that part ?
    And it certainly wasn’t a violent piece, but I’ll let you be the judge of that.

  • Gaygael

    I will reply to the longer piece when I get time.

    Denying people equality is violent. It exacerbates risk of suicide and poorer mental health outcomes. Your piece is littered with it. Now as a DUP apologist trying to pinkish their revulsive history and marginally less so recent history, I hope you can reconcile the blood on their hands.

  • Marcus Orr

    No-one is denying anyone “equality” – that was the point that I was making, and which you need to respond to. Saying that I must not expose my view and suppressing free speech, because otherwise someone’s going to maybe top themselves, is about the most pathetic cop-out I’ve ever heard.
    That’s always the way totalitarians work, first suggest that the opponent is evil, that they have “blood on their hands”, then take steps to have them silenced from speaking.
    Well done, Commissar for Correct Public Thought and Speech in the People’s Socialist Soviet of Northern Ireland.
    By the way my longer piece (above) has been suppressed already though it contained nothing whatsoever personally offensive, so you probably don’t have to worry about responding – the thought police on Disqus (or the moderator on Slugger) are doing their bit to help your free speech suppression.

  • Nevin

    Post hoc ergo propter hoc? There was no crisis prior to the incendiary BBC Spotlight broadcast on December 6, 2016; IMO that’s what led to the panic and the subsequent disintegration of The Executive Office (TEO) when SF went on the run.

  • Gaygael

    Missing the days when us uppity queers stayed in the closet?
    We ain’t going back in and more and more people support our struggle for liberation. You and your ilk are getting fewer and fewer. We are winning. I will respond if I get the time.

  • Marcus Orr

    I know you’re winning, most folk have been cowed into silence already. Thought laws are not yet in place but you haven’t come up with that yet. Already Christians are forced by law to write messages on cakes that they don’t agree with in their conscience, they must comply and break their conscience or they get fined. The day is coming when Christians will end up in prison for not repeating proudly and quickly enough the lines given them from the equality and diversity police. Keep going and you’ll soon have won completely – just like the communists did in Soviet Russia. They started small too, refusing to allow the orthodox Church to have a free voice. 1st step on a long road.

  • john millar

    The usual its “themmuns” whinge
    Try exploring other UK minorities with the same attitude

    Hello there you Muslim Hindu Jewish (etc) MPs Whats you position on
    (Take yer pick) arranged marriages hijabs burkas, marriage consanguinity, Israels actions on Palestine ete etc

    How could anyone vote for these people let alone elect them.

  • Gaygael

    Such nonsense. You are trying to goad me with it.

  • Marcus Orr

    I promise you that I’m not. The defence of free thought and free speech is about the most important freedom we have (had).
    I can also promise you that I would always support your right to speech, whether or not I agree with any of your views.

  • grumpy oul man

    Go and read the link again.

  • Marcus Orr

    I just did – what is your point ? I’m being honest – if you believe that I’m at fault then tell me where – I’ll acknowledge it if that’s the case – promise.

  • grumpy oul man

    so the DUP never said they wanted to ban Homosexuality! so if someone thinks that something is a self inflicted sin, greater than virtually any other sin, a abomination and a sinful act, and a member of that party wants it made illegal and the Party leader only comment on this is “I would expect the law to be followed” you doubt they want it made illegal.
    if that’s not proof enough for you, then its obvious that you simply refuse to see what is in front of you.

  • grumpy oul man

    are you suggesting somebody gets a weapon.

  • grumpy oul man

    yes and thankfully many happy couples are in same sex Gay marriage’s in the sense you use the word (as well as the rest of the world use’ of it as well)
    and with a lower divorce rate that all those cheating Heterosexuals.
    so lets catch up with the republic, have a referendum and lets see if the Public agree with you!
    thankfully the oppression of religious fundamentalists who oppose equality is on the wane and i believe that the vast majority are fed up with the homophobic nonsense they preaching class sprout.

  • Marcus Orr

    “so the DUP never said they wanted to ban Homosexuality!”

    Thanks we’ve got that sorted out at last !
    Mr McClean never said anything about homosexuality being a greater sin than any other sin, or an abomination, that’s new stuff to me…
    If the party leader (Robinson) says I would expect the law to be followed, then what was the law exactly in 2015 (when these comments were made) ? Was homosexuality illegal in 2015 I wonder ? As far as I am aware homosexuality is legal in GB since 1967 and in Northern Ireland since 1982. Don’t you agree ?
    Therefore, in what sense can you say that if Robinson said “I would expect the law to be followed” that this is an endorsement of what that councillor said ? Strange….

  • grumpy oul man

    How will that work, you always on about conspiracy theories how the “leftie,global warmers,media, gay alliance is out to destroy your lot of godly wise elders.
    how will it work.
    how exactly will a church full with a reputation for homosexual rape of children in private be damaged by two people declaring there love in broad daylight in front of their friends and loved ones.
    it doesn’t seem very threatening to me.

  • grumpy oul man

    Dear Marcus, it reeks of desperation when you are reduced to quoting things out of context to prove a point.
    And again failure to read the link i posted or deliberately trying to muddy waters which is it.

  • Marcus Orr

    Then show me how I am quoting “out of context” please.

  • grumpy oul man

    I have tried several times, go and read it. i’m dealing with Patrick mac at the moment and one crazy right wing conspiracy theorist at a time.
    read the post or google DUP/homosexuality.

  • Marcus Orr

    “one crazy right wing conspiracy theorist at a time.”
    Less of the ad homemim attacks please. I have also read your link several times now. Where does Robinson support the DUP councillor’s claim that homosexuality should be made illegal ? I’ll wait for your response to this question.