Fein could set up an advice centre in the loyalist
Shankill Road if middle class conservative unionism
does not start looking after the interests of the
Protestant working class.
last weeks historic IRA decommissioning, unionists
would be well advised not to dismiss the recent
comments by Sinn Fein supremo Gerry Adams about
the need for republicans to hold out the hand of
friendship to unionism.
the DUP battens down its hatches in preparation
for a right royal political lashing from Hurricane
Gerry over IRA arms, the unionist family
which is dominated by the middle class should
not merely write off the Adams appeal as media spin
or empty republican rhetoric.
partition, it has not just been nationalists who
have suffered under the domineering attitude of
the ruling elite of the Unionist Party, the Protestant
aristocracy, landed gentry and major middle class
more than 40 years, elitist Unionism ignored the
plight of working class Protestantism, content only
to call the workers out for elections, but using
the Orange Order to keep ordinary Prods in check.
the advent of political Paisleyism in the late Sixties,
the aristocratic Unionist grip on the Protestant
working class was snapped. The DUP gave ordinary
Prods the chance to become branch chairmen, treasurers
and secretaries in a political movement a
privilege denied the working class by Unionist aristocrats.
major malaise of Unionism has been its totally
inability to look after the needs of the Protestant
working class. Socialist politics was a dirty phrase;
the development of a genuine labour movement within
the Unionist Party reeked of Godless marxism.
urban loyalist heartlands, Unionist fundamentalists
would jibe at working class Prod movements as being
little more than Shankill Soviets.
it became the lead voice for the Unionist family,
the DUP was always viewed as the working mans
movement. The rural born-again Christian middle
class sat in an unholy alliance with the socialist
working class city Prods.
the DUP has not only stolen the traditionally middle
class UUPs votes and policies, it has also
now realigned itself as the middle and upper class
voice of Unionism. The Whiterock riots were firm
proof the DUP has abandoned the loyalist working
a generation, the Paisley camp called the working
class people onto the streets, but now that it has
the trappings of power, like the old Stormont Unionist
Party, the elections are over and it no longer needs
working class Protestants.
Protestants are right to feel alienated. They look
at Sinn Fein and how the republican movement has
squeezed every benefit imaginable out of the Brits
for the Catholic working class.
blames its present violent streak on its frustration
that republicans seem to be getting all the political
benefits. But what the loyalist working class must
be asking is why cant unionism become
a Protestant Sinn Fein and get our people all this
cash aid, too.
we see the republican movement fully on board the
peace train. London and Dublins next migraine
to cure is to get the loyalist working class on
Governments must find some way of getting working
class political representatives elected to the Assembly,
otherwise they will never be able to lance the boil
of loyalist anarchy.
real nightmare for unionism is if Sinn Fein decides
to cultivate a Protestant Patriotism, more akin
to the radical Presbyterianism of the United Irishmen,
and begins a process of getting every benefit under
the sun for working class Prods.
laughed in the past at suggestions of IRA ceasefires,
sharing power with Sinn Fein, a dump arms
statement, and theyll probably laugh again
will they be sniggering so smugly when they find
Sinn Fein also doing their constituency work in
working class loyalist districts?
IRA decommissioning has put Sinn Fein on the political
moral high ground, and the basic problem facing
the DUP is that it doesnt know how to handle
the situation. In reality, how does it cut a deal
with republicans to bring back the devolved Parliament
Paisleyites have always been a devolutionary party,
hunting the Holy Grail of a return to the Gud
Auld Days of unionist rule at Stormont. Only
this time, the main opposition benches in the Chamber
are not occupied by the pushover Irish Nationalist
Party, but by a vibrant and growing Sinn Fein.
more than a generation, the DUP has built its power
base on two pillars ridiculing the Ulster
Unionists, and wanting to smash militant republicanism.
For the first time since it was founded in 1971,
the DUP has had those rugs pulled from underneath
three successive elections from November 2003 to
May 2005, the DUP has virtually obliterated the
UUP in every elected forum. It is now the main voice
for the Unionist family, not the UUP. Now that the
republicans have proven they have dumped arms,
the DUP will have to either become the party of
its title democratic or find a whole
series of new enemies with which it can indulge
in the blame game
course, it can be said the DUP is not wanting to
make the same mistake as former UUP boss David Trimble,
who was regularly accused by his rank and file of
not keeping the UUP grassroots informed fully of
DUP wants to avoid a head-on confrontation with
its highly volatile Right-wing religious fundamentalist
faction. The Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster
may only have about 14,000 regulars in the North,
but it could create enough of a political stink
as to fatally split the DUP.
two governments need to come up with some appeasements
to get the DUP off the hook with its own electorate.
But the big question still remains has the
DUP got the brains and guts to grab these concessions?
DUP needs to deliver something for a depressed unionist
people. The loyalist anarchy in Belfast and other
parts of the North proves that in some areas, working
class Protestants have lost confidence in the Paisleyites.
Unionism faces the uphill struggle to rebuild itself
in the coming years. For three elections, the DUP
has managed to hoodwink the unionist people by using
its clever spin doctors to divert attention onto
the myth that by hammering the UUP all will be rosy
with the Union.
November 2003, the DUP has delivered nothing. Like
it or lump it, the Paisleyites must now face the
reality that it is put up or shut up
time they must either deliver devolution,
or shut their mouths in their constant whinging
about the UUP.
real question is, what sort of deal would a post-Paisley
DUP deliver for the Protestant people? Will we see
the DUP becoming a proper Protestant Sinn
Fein and providing some political clout for