there be renderings of Happy Days Are Here Again,
with the 108 cash-starved MLA's trooping their merry
way back up Stormont's green, grassy slopes to fulfil
Emperor Hain the Horrible's decree of an Executive
by 24 November? Or will Hain be screaming Off with
Assembly members have spent the past almost four
years twiddling their thumbs at the taxpayers' expense
since Stormont was suspended in October 2002 amid
a gloomy cloud of Sinn Fein spying allegations.
prophets of doom mostly from unionism's fundamentalist
Right-wing are confidently predicting a total
meltdown in November, principally because they're
too scared to do a deal with the Shinners.
there's one glimmer of hope ... the DUP has moved
further to the centre ground than even the strife-torn
Ulster Unionists under former supremo Davy Trimble.
the bold Davy and a bunch of his pro-Agreement cronies
had headed to Killarney for any British Irish shindig,
the dissident rabble rousers led by Ulsters
version of the Prince of Darkness, former Kilkeel-based
politician wee Jeffrey Donaldson, would have demanded
Trimble be hung, drawn and quartered for treason
in gud auld fashioned Puritan Prod style.
could they sing Monty Python Life of Brian's 'Always
Look On The Bright Side of Life'. Why? Because the
DUP has become a copy cat of the late Downpatrick
MP Brian Faulkner's pro-Assembly Unionists before
they became the power-sharing Unionist Party of
not forget that Hain and Blair have played their
ace card ... money talks. How many of the 30 odd
DUP MLAs genuinely need their Stormont salaries
to pay the bills?
many young DUP pups are there in the support teams
as research assistants who will be dumped on the
dole if Big Paisley either digs in his heels and
states 'No Deal', or Peter Robinson does not have
the guts to stage a coup and take over the party?
the rumour machine claims all the wheeling and dealing
within the Paisley camp may not directly be about
cutting an agreement with the Shinners, but focuses
on the three factions in the DUP lining themselves
up for the inevitable leadership bid.
it or lump it, the pressure on Blair to announce
when he'll hand over being Prime Minister to the
tough-talking Scot Gordon Brown has sparked similar
gossip Big Ian is about to unveil he's stepping
down as North Antrim MP to allow Ian Junior a crack
at ascending to daddy's throne.
the Paisley dynasty's North Antrim stronghold is
not a happy camp, according to DUP vibes; vibes
which could ripple their way through every constituency
in the North.
on the hardline ruling Ballymena council group in
the heart of the constituency have reportedly threatened
to quit if Big Ian sups soup with the Shinners.
there's the barnstorming barrister and MEP Jim Allister
who lives in the constituency. Rumour has it a sizeable
chunk of DUP grassroots wants him to replace Baby
Ian as the new Westminster MP and DUP boss.
power base is rumoured to be the Assembly party,
where he supposedly commands the loyalty of about
half the MLAs. The Paisley camp allegedly dominate
the ruling DUP executive; Allister's strength is
his rapidly growing popularity among rank and file
members and voters.
deciding if the lid will finally off the DUP pressure
cooker, we need to keep an eye on the utterances
of four key MLAs.
are: Mervyn Storey from Ballymoney, who would make
an excellent deputy to Allister; leading fundamentalist
and Independent Orange boss George Dawson, as well
as Paisley loyalists, the influential husband and
wife team Nigel and Diane Dodds.
forthcoming battle for the hearts and minds of the
DUP will be fought in the coming weeks in the pews
of the Protestant churches. Paisley himself can
largely rely on the main fundamentalist denominations,
such as his own Free Presbyterians, the Baptists,
most Pentecostalists and some Brethren.
Robinson wing will draw its support from the so-called
Big Three mainstream Prod churches Presbyterian,
Methodist, and Church of Ireland.
Allister is smart and he's reckoned to be
one of the top political thinkers in unionism
he'll wait until after the inevitable Paisley Robinson
civil war and pick off the weakened winner.
should now plan for two scenarios does he
aim for total control of the DUP, forcing the Robinson
camp to team up with Reg Empey's UUP? Or does he
form a new radical Right wing movement outside the
Assembly based on the successful Seventies model
of Ulster Vanguard?
thing is for sure, in the tight Assembly bartering
corner, the votes of four MLAs could be vital
Independents Paul Berry and Kieran Deeny, as well
as UKUP boss Bob McCartney and PUP supremo David