The DUP changes the subject

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How do you deal with a problem called McGuinness? The Deputy First Minister came out a couple of days ago and said what lots of people, including I suspect some unionists, had been thinking: regarding unionist political response to Haas, the tail had not so much been wagging the dog as taking the dog and bashing it off the four walls and the ceiling.

So what did McGuinness say? He said it was past time for unionist politicians “to confront the extreme elements within their community who they are letting set their agenda on Haass to date,  former members of the RUC and other Crown forces lobbying the DUP and the UUP to prevent truth recovery processes which are victim centred.”  Nothing new there. The presence of senior Orange man Mervyn Gibson as part of the unionist delegation, the presence outside the door of Willie Frazer, the fact that the DUP demanded that Haas do his homework seven times over, only to be told that no no no, that’s not good enough, Dr Haas: these foolish things gave us a clue as to what was shaping unionist thinking.

With Sinn Féin and the SDLP making it clear they were ready to go with the document, and then Alliance finally making up its mind that it was for implementation too, the DUP and the UUP were left with their softer (or harder, depending on how you think of it) parts exposed for the world to see. What to do?  Call Nigel Dodds

Yesterday Nigel got up in the House of Commons and expressed concern that republicans had been involved in a parade in Castlederg and called on Martin McGuinness and them “to stop wallowing in the filth of murder”.

Yes, yes, Virginia, I know that has nothing to do with Haas. I know that there were about fifteen loyalist bands marching through the centre of Castlederg, a majority Catholic town, last summer. I know that Nigel’s call is a desperate effort to get the world to stop looking at Haas and their bits that stand, if that’s the word I want, exposed to the biting wind of reality. But I mean – what else can you do? Apart from compare your political opponents to pigs? Hardly rational but at least it changes the subject.

6 Responses to The DUP changes the subject

  1. ANOTHER JUDE January 16, 2014 at 11:56 am #

    The DUP has reacted in it`s normal, childish way. They know they are bang to rights and think that wailing in front of a couple of dozen disinterested British MPs will get them off the hook. The fact is they have been shown up as the intransigent yesterday people they have always been. That brick hasn`t helped Nigel`s thinking process.

  2. Cal January 16, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

    BBC reporting Joe Biden phoned Peter the not so great in order to press him to reach agreement in the closing stages of the talks. They report that Obama was also given regular status updates. Well done the DUP and UUP – what a way to piss off the world’s only super power – inward investment ? Some chance !

  3. Mick Fealty January 16, 2014 at 6:07 pm #

    It’s the insubstantial politics of ‘manners’ Jude.

    Down south Big Phil’s plans for Irish Water are getting him dragged through nettles backwards, in Northern Ireland it is all handbags at fifty paces.

    The institutions were set up on the principle that the prevention of harm was paramount. Haass was a brave idea, but he has no local political will to work with.

    No one who has spoken publicly (barring the SDLP) actually likes the report. Very few (even, I suspect, inside the SDLP) think it will actually work.

    I’m not sure what else people expected.

    We have two parties, each of whom has stepped away from their own fundamentalist actions of the past but, who are finding it hard to shake off their fundamentalist beliefs.

    ‘He won’t give up on his fundamentalist mates’ as well as being oddly quaint coming from the party who wanted more time than Trimble could politically afford to get their friends in the IRA to give up their weapons, is also an admission of being in the weaker position.

    Even with the flag protests dispersing, I guess a relative quiet summer and a new bunch of Parades Commissions might just put some of these issues to bed for the time being.

    But this is the Kulturkampf. It’s been thirty years in the formulation and it’s not going away you know. 😉

  4. michael c January 17, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

    So says the expert on all things North and South from his ivory tower somewhere in the south of England.

  5. Eric_Richards January 17, 2014 at 2:22 pm #

    Young people of a Unionist background are walking away from the DUP and UUP in ever greater numbers.

    How can you deal or feel an attachment to the mentality that run them.

    Some are hopping the fence and supporting Sinn Féin. 2 friends of mine who are Gay, can’t bring themselves to vote Unionist anymore because of the parties attitude.

    Going SF didn’t seem as difficult when they knew that homophobia would not be tolerated.

    Many young Unionists can’t do that jump and leave Ulster instead.

    Unionism is cutting the legs out from itself in many obvious and subtle ways.


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