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May 28, 2006

Opin: DUP Lead Us Out of This

News About Ireland & The Irish

SL 05/28/06 Opin: Lead Us Out Of This


Opin: Lead Us Out Of This

Alan McBride
28 May 2006

I WANTED to write about something completely different this
week, but the shenanigans up at Stormont has got my blood

I didn't really expect Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness to
form a government (at least not yet, although I also didn't
think I'd live to see the day Ian Paisley would be
nominated as First Minister by Gerry Adams!).

What set me off was the usual rhetoric from Mr Paisley
about not "sitting down with terrorists" and blaming
everything on the "failed" Belfast Agreement, negotiated
"very badly" by David Trimble and his cohorts in the UUP.

In my opinion this argument from the DUP is wearing a wee
bit thin. If the Agreement has not delivered the kind of
society envisaged, that is not necessarily the fault of the
UUP. Of course they made mistakes, but when apportioning
blame the DUP should look a little closer to home. Is it
not the case that the DUP (as always) took the cowardly way
out? Rather than get around the table and negotiate the
strongest possible deal for unionism, they ran away,
preferring to stand outside the process and undermine it at
every turn.

They have become masters at this kind of political
manoeuvring and it seems to be paying dividends for them

But what have they delivered? In spite of an election
manifesto promising a stronger type of unionism and an end
of concessions to Sinn Fein/IRA, the DUP have delivered

Rather than providing the unionist people with progressive,
forward-thinking leadership, they have yet to demonstrate
that they have anything relevant to offer.

It's easy to sound tough and principled when you don't
actually have responsibility for governing a divided

The DUP talk a good unionist government, but so far they
have failed to deliver it. This is hardly surprising as
they are not renowned for their progressive thinking. I am
reminded of a conversation I had with Ian Paisley jnr up at
Stormont on the night the Agreement was signed.

After introducing myself and listening to him pour scorn on
Trimble's attempt at negotiations, I asked him: "Where are
you leading us Ian? I am ready to follow you, but I need to
know where you are going, what's the plan?"

He gave no answer, but instead offered the same old line
his father used last Monday about not sitting down with
terrorists etc.

I readily condemn terrorist violence from any quarter, but
I also recognise it is a symptom of our problems, not the
cause. The DUP put forward avoiding the unpleasantness of a
symptom as a justification for not dealing with the cause,
which is a pathetic stance for any serious politician.

However, their recent criticism of Sir Reg Empey for
enlisting the support of David Ervine also reeks of

It wasn't that long ago DUP Press officer Gary Blair -
himself a convicted terrorist - was calling for the release
of those found guilty of the Poyntzpass murders.

Surely it is time for the DUP to end the hypocrisy and stop
playing games with the political process.

This country needs a devolved administration. Personally
speaking, eight years is too long to be waiting.

Just the other night I popped into a political meeting that
was being held in my local and heard one punter slating
politicians for being so preoccupied with the so-called
'constitutional' questions that they were missing out on
the real point of politics - in his words "to make a
difference to the lives of ordinary people" in terms of
education, jobs and health.

Do you know what? I couldn't agree more.

Come on those of you elected to lead us - LEAD US!

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