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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Hallowe'en may be past, but Dr John Coulter goes hunting for potential spooks in unionism.

Dr John Coulter • 5 November 2006

Does the DUP have any British spooks operating in its ranks? And is the Unionist family hunting what it has dubbed 'provocateurs' in the Paisley camp who want to wreck The Big Man's chances of forming a power-sharing Executive with the Shinners?

Murdered former Shinner Stormont chief Denis Donaldson is a prime example of how well British intelligence had penetrated the republican movement.

Would it not be logical to assume that same intelligence service could plant spies at the heart of Unionism?

During the life of the 1998 Assembly, parliament buildings used to be awash with gossip and allegations about who worked for MI5 and MI6. How many of these rumours were true, or just simply rival unionist 'bad mouthing', maybe only history or memoirs will tell.

One question still remains unanswered – how much was British intelligence behind the wrecking inside Ulster Unionism during the David Trimble era?

And during the supposed defections to the DUP, did any British spooks slip unnoticed into the Paisley camp amid the euphoric cheering and clapping for UUP people who had 'seen the light' politically?

Ian Paisley Senior has personally only suffered three major defeats in his almost four decades in Unionist politics. In the 1969 Stormont General Election, he lost out to Northern Premier Terence O'Neill in Bannside.

His 1977 re-run of the Ulster Workers Council strike was a real slap in the teeth for Paisley, and the 1998 referendum on the Good Friday Agreement delivered a resounding Yes for the Northern community to Big Ian's No camp politics.

But in the 35 years since he founded the DUP in 1971, he has become the undisputed – and now unchallenged – leader of unionism. Like him or loathe him, the reality facing all those associated with the St Andrews Agreement is that Paisley is strong enough to do his own thing, and courageous enough to make his own decision.

He, and he alone, will make the decision by 24 November allowing himself to be nominated as First Minister. Paisley alone – simply because he has become an iconic figure within Unionist politics – will deliver the benefits of St Andrews.

The North needs Paisley to do the deal. If Paisley says No again on 24 November, he will go down in history as the man who lost everything for 'Loyal Ulster' and condemned Unionism to the political shackles of joint authority with Dublin.

If Paisley fails to deliver on St Andrews, then unionism will be left without an effective voice in Ireland. There are certainly factions within the DUP; there are clearly divisions of opinions on policy and direction.

But there are no splits – as yet – because Ian Paisley has kept a firm grip on the party leadership. While UUP Prime Ministers, leaders, and other unionist parties have come and gone, Paisley at the age of almost 81 remains the seemingly immovable top dog in the unionist pack.

While 24 November will always be the Big Man's personal decision, Unionism has a moral duty to ensure Paisley is not stabbed in the back by the same dissident movement which bloodied Trimble's leadership.

The real danger for Unionism is not a lack of bottle by Paisley, but the potential threat posed by anti-deal unionists in the DUP who would undermine his leadership in the same way many dissidents based in Union First shafted both Trimble and the UUP's pro-agreement rulers.

Unionism must swallow the bitter medicine if it is to have a relevant say in running the North as part of the United Kingdom, it must ensure that voices of dissent against the St Andrews Agreement are systematically silenced, politically of course.

The Scottish agreement has provided Paisley with a golden opportunity to say Yes to something constructive. But sadly, in attempting to make this historic step, the unionist family must guard him against political wolves in sheep's clothing.

These wolves come in two breeds – unionists who will never share power with their own kind, let alone republicans; and those in the British establishment who favour a united Ireland.

The coming weeks could well reveal who are the spooks and who are the 'provocateurs' in Unionism.

And here's another few teasers for Unionism – does the leader of the DUP also have to be the First Minister? And will the new DUP bosses be Peter Robinson with Jeffrey Donaldson as deputy, or Jim Allister as chief with North Antrim MLA Mervyn Storey as deputy?










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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



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Index: Current Articles

7 November 2006

Other Articles From This Issue:

When It's Time for Change, No One Is Irreplaceable
Mick Hall

Date Fixed For Flawed Landmark Case
Michael McKevitt Justice Campaign

Souper Sinn Fein
Eoghan O'Suilleabhain

Dr John Coulter

St Andrews Agreement & 'the Left'
Davy Carlin

Shotgun Wedding
John Kennedy

...and to create the space for a diversity of views...
Noel Dolan

'Undo the Great Betrayal, Free the Occupied 26'
Dr John Coulter

The Wind That Shakes the Barley
Anthony McIntyre

Power & Powerlessness
Patricia Campbell

The Constantine Institute
Terry O'Neill

Mary Robinson Spotlights Human Rights Abuses in Darfur
William Hughes

Fearless Speech
Anthony McIntyre

30 October 2006

Granny Josie
Anthony McIntyre

Guardians of Perjury
Martin Galvin

Writing on the Wall
John Kennedy

The Litmus Test of Republicanism
Charlie Clarke

Monkey Business
Anthony McIntyre

Northern Invasion
Dr John Coulter

Eamon McGuire: The Life of an Undercover IRA Activist
William Hughes

Deal Will Underline Delusions
David Adams

Blood in the Water
Dr John Coulter

Muslims = Terrorists
M. Shahid Alam

Nothing Could Be More Offensive!
Maryam Namazie



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