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Where do the DUP go? — 6 Comments

  1. The DUP is incapable of detaching itself from its history; a sign of this is that the favourite to replace Arlene Foster as leader is Edwin Poots, a young-earth creationist whose views are closer to the Paisleyites in the party than to any other. The move against Foster seems to have been prompted by the EU-UK-NI protocol and her failure to vote against legislation to ban Gay Conversion Therapy. Those who wanted her out are also concerned that the DUP was losing votes to the Traditional Unionist Voice party, a group that makes the DUP seem moderate. It appears that, in reality, the DUP was losing three votes to Alliance for every one lost to TUV. Of course, the DUP is in the unique position of actually believeing Boris Johnson when he said that there would never be a border down the Irish Sea – did they not think of his record?

    The recent outbreak of violence is worrying, especially in the absence of calming political leadership.

  2. The decline seems to have been long and inexorable. The question now is how the endgame is played out.

  3. My optimistic scenario is that, at last, the communities in Northern Ireland will realise how much they have in common and work together to build a society that works for everyone and if a united Ireland results in the medium to long term it will be based on a shared sense of community. My pessimistic scenario is that a triumphalist Sinn Féin in government in the Republic and the largest party in NI will see no need for reconciliation and push successfully for a border poll with all the divisiveness that will result. The regular reference to demographic change (more RCs than Prods) suggests that some groups including SF and Ireland’s Future see a 50%+1 result in a border poll as enough without the need to build better relationships in NI and across the island. At least Micheál Martin sees the danger in this approach.

  4. Unless they can deliver a body blow against Fianna Fail, it is hard to imagine Sinn Fein reaching the 60-70 seats they would need to be within touching distance of forming a government, and even then they would probably have mopped up the seats of small Left-wing parties and have few options for coalition.

    It is hard to see a way forward in the North if the 50%+1 was applicable. Economically, it is unsustainable. Once the potential bill for Irish taxpayers became apparent, enthusiasm for unity would evaporate. There would be a state of constitutional limbo, the North unwanted by both jurisdictions.

  5. Many Fianna Fáil TDs would be happy to go into coalition with Sinn Féin so they could get a majority even without the smaller parties. After all, who would have expected Fianna Fáil in government with Fine Gael. The Greens would join in too (especially if they were promised cycle lanes everywhere).

    I’m not convinced that economic arguments would stop a vote for unity in the Republic; the economic consequences of Brexit didn’t stop it.

  6. As a junior partner, Fianna Fail would disappear in a subsequent election – look at the experience of the PDs in 2007, the Greens in 2011, and Labour in 2016.

    I think the threat of Loyalist violence and the spelling out of the actual tax implications would inhibit a vote for unity.

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