Jude Collins

Friday, 6 September 2013

Time for the DUP to know that actions have consequences

Why did Peter Robinson, and him in Florida, send a letter that threatens the very existence of the Stormont institutions? Maybe it was being too long out in the Florida sun. Or maybe there’s a clue in something he said earlier this year: “One of the elements of leadership that is always important is to know just how far ahead of the pack that you should be. And it is all right having great ideas and great wisdom on these matters but you have to be able to bring people along with you.”

That’s a leader talking. But are those the words of a shrewd pragmatist who knows the limitations of power,  or the voice of one who says “There goes the mob, I am their leader, I must quickly follow”?

Alas, it looks more like the second rather than the first.  For weeks now, various top DUP people, particularly Arlene Foster, have been loudly critical of the republican commemorative march held in Castlederg earlier this summer. In razor-sharp contrast, there hasn’t been a peep about loyalist rioting in Belfast City Centre which left over 50 PSNI officers injured. This isn’t a case of the DUP leadership having great ideas but the grassroots refuses to stomach them. This is a case of the DUP leadership being bereft of ideas and  its right-wing elements leading it by the nose. We saw the same thing in Belfast City Hall on Monday night, when the DUP couldn’t bring itself to support a motion condemning the Woodvale attack on Belfast’s Lord Mayor. 

Instead, Peter and Co have chosen to turn a blind eye and deaf ear to illegal activities (yes, Virginia, it is against the law to attack the police or assault a mayor) while using a megaphone to trumpet its outrage at the totally-legal republican parade in Castlederg. In fact, Peter Robinson used Castlederg as part-excuse for his Long Kesh/Maze U-turn.  He knows (I hope)  that his U-turn could be a deal-breaker for the whole Long Kesh development. He appears less aware that his U-turn could break the whole power-sharing deal.

How so? Well, let’s consider the options open to Sinn Féin. They either agree to go along with the DUP rethink and abandon the notion of a peace centre at Long Kesh; or they insist that the DUP have crossed a red line  - gone back on its pledged word - and that working with such people is impossible.  Martin McGuinness could say “OK, put Stormont back in moth-balls again, there’s no point in trying to work with a party whose face is so stonily set against power-sharing”.

I’d favour  the second response, for the good reason that it’d force the DUP to  face a choice. Either it accepts its equal part   in the governing of what Joel Taggart last week  on Raidio Uladh/Radio Ulster fondly called  “our wee country”, or they face the massive loss of income and power that must come with a collapse of Stormont. And as the good Dr Samuel Johnson said,  there's nothing like the prospect of being hanged to concentrate the mind.

Wasn’t it  Arlene Foster herself who warned Sinn Féin to be careful what they wished for regarding a border poll, since they might just get one? Well indeed, Arlene. Maybe have a word with Peter so he doesn’t wish too hard for no shrine-to-terrorists at Long Kesh.  He could get his wish, and a whole lot more as well. 


  1. 'There goes the mob I must follow' Sounds like an implied insult to the DUP voters that they're too thick to think. Sadly I think peter's confidence Stormont won't coll;apse as Marty likes the filthy lucre pouring in as much as the duppers[madraj55]

  2. Really can't see SF collapsing Stormont. I think they should. It's a waste of time dealing with a party completely opposed to any semblance of Irish culture being reflected in the State. SF won't though, they'd be too afraid of the political price they'd have to pay down south.

  3. The DUP have neither the moral nor the political courage to accept democracy. Yes they want equality for all, as long as they are more equal than everyone else. Robinson et al are hypocrites with no backbone.

  4. I agree with your views completely completely. The UK & IRISH GOV.S must grasp the nettle of Orangeism & Loyalist sectarianism.
    The UK in particular must tell Unionists that to remain in the UK their present behaviour towards Catholics and anything Irish must cease other than develop into civil war. TIME FOR PEACE

  5. Sinn fein have 'broken the deal' many times before now. Weapons are still being discovered which Sinn Fein claim were decommissioned.

  6. JudE
    "threatens the very existence of the Stormont institutions?"
    Perhaps I am being complacent, but that seems unlikely.
    Both the DUP and Sinn Fein seem altogether to keen on power to relinquish it just yet.

  7. I think its time for the British Gov. to shake the joint authourity stick again, thats the only way I can see anybody moving unionism in a progressive direction. To collapse Stormont would be a massive admission by SF that their peace project of 15yrs or so was a failure and we would be back to direct rule again, wouldn't we?

    1. anon[15.25] Unionism is incapable of progressive politics. They know the tide is against them but are too scared to tell the fodder they depend on for votes. O'Neill said in 1969 'Paisley is chipping away at our democracy' Satire became redundant at that point in these parts.[madraj55]

  8. No we might move on the joint sovreignty/governance which has a lot to offer. Have a look at some of the posts on eurofree3.wordpress.com

  9. Surely the issue of Victim/perpetrator needs to be sorted out. Re the Maze - the listed buildings should be obliterated. Castlederg was not a Prod/Taig issue it was Right v Wrong. And, as for a comment above (06/09) ref Unionist 'behaviour towards Catholics', the issue is not towards Catholics but towards republicans and a reaction to the 'shinagins' that they have been engaging in for many months of late in a hardening of their line to cope with their own internal difficulties.