DUP leadership and NI political landscape
Sir, – The little bubble of DUP politicians (28 MLAs and eight MPs) has passed a vote of no confidence in their leader, Arlene Foster. Might it have been more honest of them to have passed a vote of no confidence in themselves? – Yours, etc,
Sir, – The DUP is frequently said to be a destructive political party yet we should note that it has managed to rebuild the glass ceiling which, it transpires, was merely damaged, not shattered. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – The DUP has reached a crossroads and now must decide as to whether it maintains its archaic and old-fashioned ideas on how its electorate should lead their lives or whether it should enter modern and fast-paced politics. Its past is plagued with consistently resisting change, in believing its own rhetoric, and its supporter base is declining.
Yet I cannot fathom how the leadership seems not to be listening.
What it needs to do is to bring in young talent who can turn its fortunes around.
I cannot see this happening as the ethos of the party is unappealing and unattractive. It’s demise is only a few elections away. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – Arlene Foster is just the latest victim left in the wake of Boris Johnson’s unprincipled quest for and ascent to power – other notable victims have been Theresa May, Michael Gove and truth in political discourse. Dominic Cummings was also cut off but he appears to have taken out some insurance and to have a few cards still to play.
Theresa May told the House of Commons that “no UK prime minister could ever agree” to a border in the Irish Sea. She tried to do something about it by negotiating with the EU a backstop arrangement which did not distinguish between the constituent parts of the United Kingdom.
Boris Johnson voted against this because it suited his ambitions to cause difficulty for his prime minister and party leader.
Mr Johnson told a Democratic Unionist Party conference that “no British Conservative government could or should sign up to any such arrangement” – that is, a border in the Irish Sea. Arlene Foster believed him and has paid the price. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – How absurd that, following the Belfast Agreement, democratically agreed by majorities north and south of the Border in 1998, a political party, the DUP, fundamentally opposed to the agreement, was allowed to take and hold the dominant role in the Northern Ireland government charged with the implementation of that agreement?
Was that a magnanimous exercise in democracy?
The DUP’s pursuit and support of Brexit, contrary to the democratic wish of the majority in Northern Ireland to remain in the EU, were undemocratic in terms of the party’s NI constituency.
How democratic is the DUP?
The Belfast Agreement, if fully implemented, would have created a confederation of the various parts of these islands, irrespective of affiliation to the UK or the EU, “to promote the harmonious and mutually beneficial development of the totality of relationships among the peoples of these islands”.
Have any current politicians anywhere on these islands read and understood the Belfast Agreement?
Do they care about it?
Have they any intention of implementing it, albeit belatedly by 23 years? – Yours, etc,
Sir, – For all those living along the Border, interest has increased in the past number of days with the resignation of Arlene Foster from the DUP leadership and the dismantling of the Sinn Féin leadership structure in Derry and that party’s official request to two of its MLAs there to consider their position.
For years, these two parties have been at opposite ends of the spectrum, with internal wranglings exacerbating an already fraught situation in Northern Ireland. Brexit, the Northern Ireland protocol, and the Internal Markets Bill are all part of the build-up of distrust by both camps, not only towards each other, but also towards the British government and the EU.
The electorate in Northern Ireland has been held captive by these two extremes for far too long.
In the last election, where the SDLP and Alliance picked up a number of seats across Northern Ireland constituencies, this was seen as a small but significant change in voting patterns.
The vast majority of people want and demand peaceful coexistence, jobs and security. They don’t want the next generation to experience what most people experienced for decades – death, bloodshed, rioting and sectarian gangs roaming their streets.
It is time for the old guard to remove themselves and take with them their bitterness, division and sectarian hatred.
What Northern Ireland needs is a functional, progressive and sustainable form of government that is inclusive of all and not the hyperbole and rhetoric that we have seen dominating public discourse. – Yours, etc,