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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
Basking in the Glory?

In spite of the dilemmas facing Sinn Fein and the Ulster Unionists, the DUP is remaining remarkably tight-lipped.

Dr John Coulter • March 2005

With Sinn Fein and the Ulster Unionists trying to out-celebrate each other concerning their respective centenaries, we are left still pondering - why is the DUP so quiet these days?

After all, the Shinners' recent big shin-dig in Dublin has more to do with putting the shine back onto their Southern electoral bandwagon as the crisis over the Northern Bank heist and the McCartney killing deepens on a daily basis.

It seems to have partially work given the fact Sinn Fein raised its percentage vote in the recent Dail by-election in Meath, but then again, as the proverb states - one swallow does not make a summer.

SF founder Arthur Griffith must be lying in his coffin with a king-size migraine when he views the balls-up the present day leaders of Sinn Fein have made of his original separatist movement.

And as for the UUP, plenty of banqueting, praying, singing hymns, and fine speeches to commemorate how the Ulster Unionist Council has saved Ulster from Dublin rule over the last century.

A week later, the Orange Order dumps the UUC hopefully to clean up its tarnished image as a result of Drumcree and return to being a purely religious organisation. At the moment, the jury is out on this one.

It's a pity that saving glory of the UUC's Thanksgiving Service will only last until 5 May. Maybe that's why only half the 900 plus UUC delegates attended the centenary AGM earlier this month. Indeed, there were more people at the centenary banquet and the thanksgiving service than the actual AGM itself.

Then again, with all this internal strife in the republican family, and an electoral apocalypse looming for the UUC, is it any wonder the Paisley camp has decided to stay silent and bask in the glory of their opponents' misfortunes.

Rumour has it, the Paisley camp is well and truly in electoral mode for 5 May … but the DUP is still nervous Sinn Fein might throw a wobbly and orchestrate a huge act of public decommissioning complete with a portfolio of photos before the elections.

What the republicans really need to urgently initiate is the introduction of another 'D' word. We've had disbanding and decommissioning - now we need Sinn Fein to decouple itself from the IRA. The hard reality is the IRA an out of control boil on the face of republicanism which must be lanced otherwise it will cause a political scar which will persist for generations.

But a massive act of verifiable decommissioning to decouple Sinn Fein would force the Paisleyites to show their hand at what they had really negotiated with the doves in Sinn Fein before last year's supposed 'collapse' of the peace deal.

With persistent rumours the DUP modernisers have conceded more to Dublin on cross-border bodies than Trimble did in the Good Friday Agreement, the last thing the DUP wants is SF to deliver on decommissioning before any General and council elections.

With ill health gossip now laid to rest, the Big Man and the fundamentalists are now firmly at the helm of the party, putting the Nigel Dodds campaign to succeed Paisley as DUP boss back on track. Peter Robinson and the modernisers have once more to take a back seat.

The social body language of the UUC celebrations clearly showed South Belfast Assemblyman Michael McGimpsey is the man of the moment amongst Ulster Unionists. Indeed, maybe the DUP will need an even bigger gun than Nigel's wife, Diane Dodds, to prevent McGimpsey replacing Martin Smyth as South Belfast MP.

This could be a good time for the DUP's man of the moment - MEP Jim Allister - to enter the fray as its South Belfast standardbearer. If he won, it would place him in prime position to take the DUP leadership itself.

Allister's impressive vote in the 2004 Euro poll not only established his considerable credibility amongst the DUP rank and file, but also the private respect of many Right-wing Ulster Unionists.

Recently, the UUP MLAs held an 'away day' in Templepatrick to discuss their future. Having met the SDLP the other week, the big question is whether the UUP leadership will unveil a British Government document containing four possible proposals to end the impasse.

With the DUP proposal document already with the Secretary of State, the UUP is under pressure to give its council and Westminster candidates some policy direction on the doorsteps.

With disturbing reports of a potentially violent summer ahead - especially in north Belfast - there is pressure to get an interim arrangement as soon as possible after 5 May.

It is then hoped real negotiations can begin again in September, with the new deal in place by Christmas and the Assembly restored by January 2006 - just a year late!

But another question is still bugging many - why won't the SDLP make the ideological jump and share power with unionists without SF being present, especially as the latter is hell bent on wiping out constitutional nationalism on 5 May?




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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
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Index: Current Articles

16 March 2005

Other Articles From This Issue:

Statement from the Family of Knife Murder Victim Mark 'Mousey' Robinson
Robinson Family, Derry

Power in the Pub
Anthony McIntyre

Why No Arrests? (Whose agenda are we working to)?
TR FitzSimons

McCartneys: how the personal became political
Brendan O'Neill

No Breakthrough
Michael Benson

Hope for Justice
Mick Hall

Provisional Thuggery in Strabane
Des Dalton

Basking in the Glory?
Dr John Coulter

This Is What Democracy Doesn't Look Like
Fred A. Wilcox

Way Beyond Orwell
Eoghan O'Suilleabhain

Aliyah and the Oligarchs
Mary La Rosa

7 March 2005

The Butcher of Derry
Anthony McIntyre

Republican Anger at Criminals on Political Wing
Martin Mulholland, IRPWA

Brian Mór

The Rally for Justice
Sean Smyth

Green Leadership in North Call for a 'Big Conversation'
on a Unified Nationalist/Republican Strategy for the Endgame

John Barry, Green Party

Eoin McNamee's two Troubles novels
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Irish Christians and Africa
Dr John Coulter



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