The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Religious Rednecks of Doom

Political journalist and Unionist Revisionist Dr John Coulter calls on Ahern, Blair and Hain to save Peter Robinson from the DUP's religious Rednecks if Stormont is to have any chance of survival

Dr John Coulter • 24 July 2006

Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern have moral duties to save DUP deputy boss Peter Robinson from being politcally mauled by Paisleyism's religious hill-billies and Rednecks.

Throughout 2006, Robinson has become the Unionist family's Great White Hope - the man who possessed the wisdom, vision and courage to form a power-sharing Executive with Sinn Fein before Northern Secretary Peter Hain's 24 November deadline.

London and Dublin must face up to what everyone in the North already knows - the DUP is irrepairably split under the surface despite the party's glossy spin and propaganda about being unified.

Big Paisley may still rule his party, but his fundamentalist zealot clique has steadily picked off Robinson's supporters within both the DUP ruling executive and especially in its 32-strong Assembly team.

The Robinson camp is now at crisis point. In January, he could command the loyalty of around 16 MLAs - enough bodies to form a United Unionist Coalition with Sir Reg Empey's 25-member, socialist-leaning UUP/PUP group.

This would have isolated Paisley's fundamentalists and signalled a Sinn Fein/UUC power-sharing Executive even before July's summer recess.

But senior Stormont sources claim the Robinson camp has been obliterated to a core Gang of Six - Robinson himself, his wife Iris, Jeffrey Donaldson from Lagan Valley, William Hay from Foyle, East Derry's Gregory Campbell, and out-of-flavour green campaigner Jim Wells from South Down.

The hard fact is Robinson's sums don't add up. It's July and he now lacks the numbers to successfully stage a coup within the DUP. He could try, but he'd be wiped out by Paisley's fundamentalists and MEP Jim Allister's ultra-Right wing supporters.

What Blair and Ahern urgently need to do by September is to create conditions at Stormont Hill which allow for yet another, but workable, realignment within Unionism - this time into pro and anti-deal Unionists.

Rather than having to wait a political eternity until the entire Paisley camp negotiates a deal with Sinn Fein, Dublin and London need to establish the scenario where the pro-deal Unionist camp can hammer out an agreement with the Shinners.

The size of the hill Blair and Ahern have to climb is immense - but it can be done.

Of the 32 DUP MLAs, Paisley now commands 26. He can also count on United Kingdom Unionist Party boss Bob McCartney and Independent Unionist Paul Berry.

The latter desperately needs back into the DUP fold if he is to save his Newry and Armagh seat following allegations about his private life. The anti-deal camp is 28.

Pro-deal Unionists can drum up 31, comprising the 25 UUP/PUP group plus Robinson's Gang of Six. The pro-deal camp may need the help of Alliance to give it a workable majority over anti-deal Unionism.

If Hain truely wants the Executive by November, he needs a financial carrot for MLAs. Instead of axing all salaries and expenses, he should offer 20 per cent for registering and the remaining 80 per cent for attendance at the Executive and committees.

This could tempt some of the present anti-deal DUP MLAs into defecting. Hain must starve out the Paisley camp without punishing those who want the Executive to work.

He must also focus on the underlying splits within the DUP rather than tarring all of the Paisley camp with the same Never, Never, Never brush.

He, too, has a moral imperative to help those within the DUP who want to secure the future of the North within the Union by restoring Stormont.

Any DUP MLA who joins the pro-deal camp will have taken the historic step of putting the country first before selfish, party-political point scoring.

But these DUP MLAs, just like UUP pro-Agreement MLAs in the late 1990s, will face a barrage of verbal and physical abuse from anti-deal fanatics.

They will be especially prey to cowards who operate anonymously and viciously on the numerous internet blog sites, spewing out their political vomit.

If Stormont falls, the fingers of blame will not all be pointed at Big Paisley. Blair, Ahern and Hain will have to carry the can for lacking the guts to fully support pro-deal Unionism.

As for the DUP, joint authority will become Paisleyism's epitaph.

The Unionist family will then have to seriously consider the concept of Revolutionary Unionism. This is Unionism within a 32-county framework where Unionists have a direct say in the running of the South.




























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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



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Index: Current Articles

25 July 2006

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Religious Rednecks of Doom
Dr John Coulter

Cut-Throat Politics
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A Poem About Our Children
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Israeli Blitzkrieg
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Mission Impossible
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Lit Crit Well Writ
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The Framing of Michael McKevitt: Conclusion
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The Framing of Michael McKevitt: Additional Information
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The Framing of Michael McKevitt: Letter of Thanks
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The Framing of Michael McKevitt: Rupert's Reward
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The Framing of Michael McKevitt: Rupert's Inconsistencies
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Blast from the Past
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An Elegant End
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