Monday, November 14, 2005

Not coming out to play

Honestly, sometimes the DUP really takes the biscuit. The IRA has decommissioned, Peter Hain invites Dermot Ahern and all the NI political parties to Hillsborough to talk about policing and restorative justice, and Nigel Dodds pulls out some old prima-donna mantra of the government already being aware of his party's position.

Regular readers know I often rail against Sinn Féin for welching out of their responsibility to help shape Northern Ireland's policing by representing their voters on the local policing boards, but full marks to them on attending Hillsborough for these talks. It's a start in the right direction, and if Peter Hain's got any sense he'll recognise that and try to accommodate some of their interests (without compromising any principles of a modern democracy, of course).

Reg Empey agrees: "They should be in those talks along with us and others fighting to get as much as we can for the pro-union community. We know that there are major social and economic issues".

The truth is, that whereas the UUP and its pre-incarnations ignored the plight of the Protestant working classes in the 1920s to 1990s, that role has now sadly fallen to the DUP, whose electoral success was produced by those same working classes whom - irony of ironies - Sinn Féin is now said to be looking to address on the ground with advice centres and door-to-door constituency work. Never was an opportunity wider open.

Nigel Dodds has described the talks as a stunt 'to give the impression that some process is starting' . He may find, to his displeasure, that some process is indeed starting, but that he's wrongly chosen to stay at home with mummy.


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