Six reasons why the DUP must be considered on its merits rather than its faults…

One, Labour should approach any NI issue with some considerable caution and given the party leader’s record some humility too. It is not viable to defend John McDonnell’s kneecapping remarks one minute and then suggest the DUP is beyond the political Pale. Particularly if you have a credible ambition to run the UK. If, not then you can say what you bloody well like and ignore the following advice.

Two, you have to ask yourself what forces have driven so many good people to vote for a party with such a record? The answer is not simple, but part of it is rooted in the fact that Sinn Fein is still being run as by the same group of men who planned and executed the slaughter of Bloody Friday (look it up if you’re not sure what that was). People vote DUP because they want protection from Adams and Co.

Three, consider this prospective arrangement from the other angle. Participation in the next government carries a considerable reputational risk for the DUP in NI. The Conservatives have been far from considerate bedfellows to their previous partners in government, and odd as it may sound to mainland British ears, they remain far more toxic in NI than the DUP has ever been.

Four, the scale of the DUP’s victory was immense, especially if you extrapolate those gains on any putative Assembly. It’s plain disrespectful of a mandate that is beyond either main party locally. Labour should note in particular that its sister party was wiped out in this election and replaced by SF’s non-sitting MPS.

Five, it’s just too easy. White Protestant British Irish folk in Northern Ireland are routinely abused and demonised in a way no other group on these islands are. Len McCluskey got his pitch to the DUP perfect: pointing out that many his members voted DUP and did not vote for them to limp into a Tory-led government. Peter’s policy match up finds a non-Corbyn led Labour is a more viable partner to the DUP than the Tories.

Six, the invidious idea being put about by Powell, Campbell and others that NI parties cannot participate in UK government because of a Peace Process™ which is dying in part because of the UK and Irish governments’ standoffish and neutral approach to the various crisis we’ve had since the restart in 2007 is democratically ruinous, and treats the citizens of NI as second class citizens (apparently, for their own good).

And, finally… attack the DUP all day and all night for all I care. But that social conservative agenda is on devolved matters and is not coming back to London anytime soon. I think sometimes we’ve been conditioned by the Tabloids to think that just throwing any old monkey ? at our opponents creates space and license for our own ambitions. It doesn’t always. And sometimes it actually reduces them by fanning the flames of cynicism.


  • Ray Lawlor

    Wow. The line “White Protestant British Irish folk in Northern Ireland are routinely abused and demonised in a way no other group on these islands are” will mean that this will be my last visit to Slugger.

    If this is the level of acceptable discourse on here then, rather than involving myself in some grownup political discussions, I’ve clearly stumbled on a front for Combat 18.

    It was nice conversing with you all.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    And my own best wishes to you, for a sensible discussion of the issues, without the usual rancour which customarily accompanies discussions on politics in NI. I’ve been discussing issues with my UUP relatives since the 1960s and, like John Redmond a century ago, value the tremendous contribution their better part, the dissenter tradition, will make to an all Ireland assembly some day. Their abilitys are far too great to be wasted on the dregs of their sentimental attachment to a country which boasts nine of the ten poorest regions in northern Europe, and has so little concern for their “loyalty” it customarily shows them only ill humoured contempt.

    Of course I still disagree on the issue of the DUPs choices. They should have stayed out of a situation where only party advantage is evident in their choice, and permitted May to govern as a minority administration. They could still have supported her informally, but the old DUP habit, inherited from the late Lord Bannside, of using any strength to force demands on others was simply too strong to resist, as with the story of the scorpion crossing the river on the frog’s back.

    My own perspective covers a few centuries where I’ve seen changes very much from a family perspective. I have an ancestor (CofI) who participated in the Volunteer conventions as a Liberal inclusivist. His descendants watched as the enmity between the dissenter and the Conservative elite was sunk in the the alliance of Unionism, which was always an uneasy alliance until the Presbyterian thread recently pretty much won control. I’m now watching as the fulcrum is being crossed of the 50+1%, which will ensure that the DUP do not “maintain the confidence of the majority in Northern Ireland” and that , without those reconciliation politically which the Belfast Agreement was crafted to encourage the partition of a century ends and our people do not “remain in the Union of the United Kingdom.” We are in changing times here, like the 1780s or the1880s, and the rediscovery of the northern protestant Irish identity of the 1780s will be crucial whether we enter what I’d see as inevitably an Irish future as full partners, or as all too many posters here suggest, as a resentful and defeated group similar to those German acculturated Polish soldiers in whose re-patriation my Uncle was involved as an aide to Brigadeer Firebrace in 1945. Under all the bombast, that is the future I see the DUPs policies crafting. Strength and stubbornness are, after all, very different things. But thank you, again, for a courteous exchange.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    The United Kingdom can boast nine of the ten poorest regions in northern Europe, T.E. None are in an Ireland where sustainable economic development of the regions has ensured higher living standards for more than simply those in the capitol, as in the UK. Rather than relying on the DUP to strong arm Westminster for more handouts from the City of London surplus, perhaps Sandy Row should at last be pressing for a successful border poll to let the proper economic regeneration of Ulster begin, directed by a government which would see us as an integral part of their nation, rather than as an embarrassing appendage, a “remote region” which drains them of funds well above any tax returns collected.

    Would it perhaps not be more sensible, more in our true interests, to be part of a dynamic modern nation which recognises us as part of its historical identity instead of clinging unto a Union where the others involved have had to ask who our most sizeable party actually are, and what their politics are, as that party takes them by the throat?

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Lets wait and see this FF economic plan and FG road map for this utopia all inclusive ireland which will accommodate us northern prods ? I wonder if your good mother was still around would she be charmed by such wonderful economic plans or would she still vote with her heart ?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Its all there for you to see in what has been achieved in the other provinces. I know its a bit of a Unionist trope that some terrible revenge will descend on our community when re-unification is complete, but nothing could compete with the carelessness with which our friends over the water have let everything slip here. They are London-centric, to the detriment of even regions such as Northumberland and Cornwall! Ireland has been engaged in developing the whole country, something I imagine will continue to occur when we re-claim our heritage, and finally escape the lurid fantasies of Lord Ernest Hamilton and the other Unionist theorists of his time, My mother was never much of a political thinker, bless her. Even my most Unionist relatives despaired, but she had a good voice and sang a fine rendition of “Oliver’s Advice” and many other similar songs. Her father tried to tell her Old Noll had hanged one of our (Royalist) ancestors, but I think she liked the tune too much to ever listen.

    As for how she’d vote, she of course had signed that standing order half a century back.