The veteran Irish journalist and author Brian Rowan has taken to Twitter to claim that the leadership of the Democratic Unionist Party met with figures previously associated with militant loyalism in the Six Counties sometime last week and just before pro-British terrorists warned the Sunday Times newspaper in London that they were ready to return to violence in the event of a compromise Brexit deal being reached between the United Kingdom and the European Union. If true, and the DUP has declined to comment on the allegations, it emphasises once again that by agreeing to a parliamentary alliance with the Democratic Unionists the Conservative Party government in the UK has entered into a political relationship that narrows the distance between itself and the perpetrators of past and possibly future British terrorism in Ireland.
That is very telling news and sort of dovetails with the Spotlight programme a week of two back – indeed when I first scanned your headline I thought it was referring to a more recent Spotlight revelation perhaps from the last episode.
No huge surprise there.
And the ‘if Sinn Fein are for it, we’re agin it’ position speaks to a purely reactionary loyalism.
There are a few issues here.
Brian Rowan is of the highest integrity. He is also amongst the best and most reliable journalists in Northern Ireland. He strongly believes that loyalist paramilitaries should have an input on legacy and political issues, which in theory makes perfect peace-processing sense. But this idea is hugely problematic in practice.
Loyalist groups are involved in organised criminality of every kind; they are unelected and unelectable, and only represent a tiny, thuggish minority; they use calls for their involvement in politics [as if they were very important people] as cover to dominate entire communities; the DUP use these calls as cover for meeting with and directing these paramilitaries; Northern Ireland will never be rid of paramilitaries while well-meaning people like Brian keep affording them some kind of importance and second-hand respectability.
Calling for loyalist terrorists to have an input into Brexit, as Brian does in his Twitter thread, is downright dangerous. A majority in Northern Ireland voted to Remain, so in what sense other than a malevolent one can pro-Brexit loyalists play a role? The DUP sold Brexit to loyalists on the premise that it would destroy the Good Friday Agreement and, thereby, the chance of there ever being a united Ireland. The DUP are now selling them the “we unionists are being shafted” line and asking for their support, which has prompted the loyalist threats and sabre rattling of the last few days. The mainstream media headlines, and reports, on this should be “UVF and UDA chiefs met with the DUP days before threatening to bomb the Republic”.
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On a side note, it’s seriously looking as if Johnson will get a deal by throwing the DUP under the bus – who would ever have suspected it. Rees-Mogg is laying the ground at Westminster. Ha, ha, how long do you think before the DUP and their paramilitary allies start pointing out that Rees-Mogg is a “taig”?
No way this will be relevant in the upcoming election. APNI’s responses to this will be interesting.
I agree re the election, just pointing out the sub-banal outlook of the DUP and their paramilitary allies. The obnoxious Rees-Mogg was fine while he was “theirs”, but not any more.
Sorry, was being ironic and/or sarcastic in the first sentence, I intended the literal opposite and I think you are right.
There’s so much chaff in the air it’s hard to prognosticate on the election, or even what trends will dominate. I’m just hoping for the worst possible winter storm to dampen older Unionist/Conservative turnout.
That would be a great strategy for APNI. A media that avoids asking them awkward questions is a great aid in riding both horses.
Looking at how APNI respond to the BBC Spotlight reporting highlights a strategy where one member or a party spokesman will make a statement on a controversial topic, and party members wishing to avoid comment simply redirect all questions to the “previous party statement”. Naomi Long is doing it for this weeks program.
Eventually that balloon pops.
Ha, ha don’t worry – I should have realised. Agree totally on the problems re forecasting the upcoming election. It’s even possible the DUP will get a unionist vote of sympathy on being shafted by Johnson. Ignoring the fact that it’s absolutely their own fault.
Assuming there’s a deal similar to that being reported, ie with the DUP shafted, APNI should go into the election with something along these lines: “The DUP really are some negotiators. While trying to deliver Brexit against the democratically expressed wishes of the people of Northern Ireland, they nearly destroyed our peace agreement and severely weakened the union they claim to care so much about.”
Then some shit about the cash-for-ash scandal, before signing off with, “We really can’t trust these people with anything?”
Throwing the DUP under the proverbial bus would create an awful smell. The streets would be covered in shit that folks might slip on.
But seriously though unless supported by the Brits the DUP and their ilk must be wondering who they are and where they are. Their day of demise might be coming quicker than they thought. Let’s hope they don’t emigrate westwards to make landfall on Scotland’s shores.
Sorry eastwards to Scotland. Westwards to the Atlantic.
DUP let the cat out of the bag around 30:20 mark.
It’s what was suspected all along and was obvious to the EU, which is why it’s been vetoed.
As a bit of light relief, let’s look at some of the current and impending points of pressure on the DUP.
Shafted on Brexit, the DUP is now left to choose between supporting the Johnson deal, which pushes NI to the brink of its union with the UK; or going for a no-deal that will be catastrophic for the farming and business community in NI from where the DUP draws a lot of support; or supporting another referendum, which would be tantamount to the party admitting they had got it terribly wrong all along.
In the absence of a working assembly, abortion and same-sex marriage rights are about to be introduced into Northern Ireland (they come into effect on Tuesday next) which has led many Christian fundamentalists to accuse the DUP of being more interested in opposing an Irish Language Act – the DUP’s opposition to an ILA being ostensibly the reason the assembly collapsed – than “protecting the unborn child”.
The cash-for-ash inquiry is due to report in November and, to put it kindly, the DUP will not come out of it well.
The above are on top of a raft of money-related scandals involving numerous DUP elected representatives.
Is it any wonder Arlene and Nigel are looking so glum. 🙂
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This last night from the BBC’s Julian O’Neill is a little reminder of the type of people the DUP are conspiring with: “£65k worth of cocaine and cannabis found in police operation against UDA, following searches in Bangor, Millisle and Newtownabbey. £10k cash also seized and two arrests made.”
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