Jude Collins

Friday, 5 February 2010

Prescient or what?

And so the DUP have finally persuaded all their members to climb into the big four-poster bed called ‘Deal’. Or so we’re told. The clincher, informed sources tell me, was the saving of the Presbyterian Mutual Society savers. As it happens, I know a few Presbyterians with funds tied up in that society and more decent, agreeable people you couldn’t meet. So on a personal level I’m happy for them. However, two points bear mentioning. One, the PMS was in the mix for a deal weeks ago – months even. I know that from talking to people involved in PMS negotations with the British government and unionist politicians. So to attribute it, as RTE’s Tommie Gorman appeared to do this morning, to a last-minute clever move by Peter Robinson is to give it a false spin. The DUP have been working with PMS people for months now, knowing that it had real vote potential. And good luck to them. But if anyone was ever in doubt as to whether the DUP was a Protestant party for a Protestant people, that doubt came to an end last night.

Incidentally, I saw the revered Irish News’s chief political pundit on ‘Hearts and Minds’ last night. He agreed that a deal looked very likely. He didn’t mention that, some three weeks ago in his column, he made it abundantly clear that there would not, could not be a transfer of Policing and Justice powers before the Westminster election. Not sufficient will, he explained then, and not sufficient time. As I noted in an earlier blog, don’t believe what anyone tells you about what’s going to happen. Especially if they’re chief pundit for the revered Irish News.

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