Is the DUP's emotional appeal strong enough to overcome selling out their supporters to Brexit?

Prof Honeydew

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The DUP's willingness to sacrifice the economic interests of its own supporters is one of the more peculiar fallouts from Brexit. It may not be surprising in view of its primary focus on preserving the Union with Britain but, for a party which showed serious political astuteness as it climbed in from the Bible-thumping fringes to obliterate a century of UUP dominance of Unionist politics, its performance over the past year shows it may have lost sight of the support base that brought it to where it is.

Would this be because Brexit has exposed a fundamental change in the party's leadership?

Back in the day, the main political difference withing Unionism was the DUP's greater focus on the North rather than on Westminster. This was particularly evident during the Direct Rule period when the Rev Ian Paisley regularly excoriated the UUP leadership of Jim Molyneaux for its promotion of full integration of the Six Counties into Britain.

As devolved political structures became a possible following the ceasefire, the DUP began to overtake its Unionist rivals and surprised many observers by engaging with Sinn Fein to deliver a more broadly-based administration than anything the mealy-mouthed UUP leadership of David Trimble was prepared to countenance with the SDLP. Once the Paisley-McGuinness double-act got Stormont back on the road, both parties made an effort to keep it going as their most talented operators concentrated on their ministerial briefs to deliver a peace dividend for the people of the North.

Even when the Reverend was edged off centre-stage, his successor Peter Robinson was the party's most able politician and, while he might have been a hate-figure to many Nationalists, he had the smarts and the sense of place to keep the DUP focused on delivering locally for its supporters. While relations with the SF were never as productive as during the Chuckle Brothers phase, Robinson was enough of a pragmatist to appreciate the give-and-take required.

However, he could never pull all strands of the party together like his charismatic predecessor who founded the DUP and who personified it for most of its existence. Under Robinson's leadership, some of its leading talent drifted away from Stormont towards the House of Commons. By the time Arlene Foster replaced him, every heavy hitter other than herself was in Westminster - Nigel Dodds, Jeffrey Donaldson, Sammy Wilson, Gregory Campbell, Ian Paisley jr - and they've now been joined the leading light of the next generation Emma Pengelly.

With those calling the shots no longer depending on Stormont for their salary or for their media exposure, party policy now appears to be driven by British considerations to the exclusion of what matters locally in the Six Counties. It doesn't matter if the Executive collapses and, if its absence closes off a real or imaginary threat to the precious Union, then collapse it must regardless of the consequences for the local population.

The DUP's development has been the exact opposite of what has been happening in Scotland and Wales where not just the nationalist politicians of the SNP and Plaid Cymru but also those of the local Conservative, Labour and LibDems parties look increasingly towards Holyrood and Cardiff Bay as the path to advancement. Just like how the European Parliament is viewed here, Westminster is seen as the home for the B team, those either on the way up or on the way out.

It begs the question whether the DUP's support is engrained deeply enough in the emotions of its supporters to overcome selling out their economic interests to Brexit.
 


RodShaft

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The DUP's willingness to sacrifice the economic interests of its own supporters is one of the more peculiar fallouts from Brexit. It may not be surprising in view of its primary focus on preserving the Union with Britain but, for a party which showed serious political astuteness as it climbed in from the Bible-thumping fringes to obliterate a century of UUP dominance of Unionist politics, its performance over the past year shows it may have lost sight of the support base that brought it to where it is.

Would this be because Brexit has exposed a fundamental change in the party's leadership?

Back in the day, the main political difference withing Unionism was the DUP's greater focus on the North rather than on Westminster. This was particularly evident during the Direct Rule period when the Rev Ian Paisley regularly excoriated the UUP leadership of Jim Molyneaux for its promotion of full integration of the Six Counties into Britain.

As devolved political structures became a possible following the ceasefire, the DUP began to overtake its Unionist rivals and surprised many observers by engaging with Sinn Fein to deliver a more broadly-based administration than anything the mealy-mouthed UUP leadership of David Trimble was prepared to countenance with the SDLP. Once the Paisley-McGuinness double-act got Stormont back on the road, both parties made an effort to keep it going as their most talented operators concentrated on their ministerial briefs to deliver a peace dividend for the people of the North.

Even when the Reverend was edged off centre-stage, his successor Peter Robinson was the party's most able politician and, while he might have been a hate-figure to many Nationalists, he had the smarts and the sense of place to keep the DUP focused on delivering locally for its supporters. While relations with the SF were never as productive as during the Chuckle Brothers phase, Robinson was enough of a pragmatist to appreciate the give-and-take required.

However, he could never pull all strands of the party together like his charismatic predecessor who founded the DUP and who personified it for most of its existence. Under Robinson's leadership, some of its leading talent drifted away from Stormont towards the House of Commons. By the time Arlene Foster replaced him, every heavy hitter other than herself was in Westminster - Nigel Dodds, Jeffrey Donaldson, Sammy Wilson, Gregory Campbell, Ian Paisley jr - and they've now been joined the leading light of the next generation Emma Pengelly.

With those calling the shots no longer depending on Stormont for their salary or for their media exposure, party policy now appears to be driven by British considerations to the exclusion of what matters locally in the Six Counties. It doesn't matter if the Executive collapses and, if its absence closes off a real or imaginary threat to the precious Union, then collapse it must regardless of the consequences for the local population.

The DUP's development has been the exact opposite of what has been happening in Scotland and Wales where not just the nationalist politicians of the SNP and Plaid Cymru but also those of the local Conservative, Labour and LibDems parties look increasingly towards Holyrood and Cardiff Bay as the path to advancement. Just like how the European Parliament is viewed here, Westminster is seen as the home for the B team, those either on the way up or on the way out.

It begs the question whether the DUP's support is engrained deeply enough in the emotions of its supporters to overcome selling out their economic interests to Brexit.

Interesting suggestion.

Yes, I do think the way to succeed is to concentrate on the Assembley, not at Westminster.
 

ymmek

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Er a, I presume that most DUP supporters voted for Brexit and if so how can they be accused of selling out?
 

derryman

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The DUP are not for anything they are just against SF. Sammy made a real fool of himself today on BBC. He made it very clear that the DUP were motivated only by a hatred for SF.
 

derryman

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Er a, I presume that most DUP supporters voted for Brexit and if so how can they be accused of selling out?
There you have it. Their supporters are known to be the reasoning type until reality bites.
 

Plebian

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Are there any polling stats on how Unionists now feel about Brexit?

They were gung-ho for Brexit in the referendum so it'd be a big assumption to make without evidence the claim that they're already regretting it before the effects really settle in.
 

SideysGhost

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Are there any polling stats on how Unionists now feel about Brexit?

They were gung-ho for Brexit in the referendum so it'd be a big assumption to make without evidence the claim that they're already regretting it before the effects really settle in.
They weren't really gung-ho though. The bible-bashing fundamentalist creationist nutters and the Loyalist lumpenproletariat were all fired up by lunatic visions of a glorious return to the Empire alright, but loads of middle-class and big farmer unionist areas voted Remain.

Would definitely be interesting to see some current polling data though.
 

Ireniall

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There you have it. Their supporters are known to be the reasoning type until reality bites.
Yes exactly. Of course we are all a little that way. Their supporters might reasonably ask , having been 'mugged by reality', why have you led us down this foolish path? You are supposed to be our leaders are you not?
 

Cruimh

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Another wishful thinking thread .....

The DUP's willingness to sacrifice the economic interests of its own supporters
Says who? I'm a DUP supporter - I don;'t see any sign of them sacrificing our economic interests.

As devolved political structures became a possible following the ceasefire, the DUP began to overtake its Unionist rivals and surprised many observers by engaging with Sinn Fein to deliver a more broadly-based administration than anything the mealy-mouthed UUP leadership of David Trimble was prepared to countenance with the SDLP.
What codswallop. Trimble and the UUP were displaced because the Shinners stabbed them in the back by refusing to decommission. It was nothing to do with the Unionist relationship with the stoops. People changed to the DUP because they saw that the UUP attempts to engage with the shinners had failed - the shinners took advanatage of the Unionist attempts cooperate with SF/IRA at a time when SF were still up to their necks in criminality - they walked all over them, something they haven't been able to do with the DUP.
 

Cruimh

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They weren't really gung-ho though. The bible-bashing fundamentalist creationist nutters and the Loyalist lumpenproletariat were all fired up by lunatic visions of a glorious return to the Empire alright, but loads of middle-class and big farmer unionist areas voted Remain.

Would definitely be interesting to see some current polling data though.
The Unionist dominated constituencies voted for Brexit.

EU referendum: How Northern Ireland constituencies voted - BBC News
 

comet

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Another wishful thinking thread .....



Says who? I'm a DUP supporter - I don;'t see any sign of them sacrificing our economic interests.



What codswallop. Trimble and the UUP were displaced because the Shinners stabbed them in the back by refusing to decommission. It was nothing to do with the Unionist relationship with the stoops. People changed to the DUP because they saw that the UUP attempts to engage with the shinners had failed - the shinners took advanatage of the Unionist attempts cooperate with SF/IRA at a time when SF were still up to their necks in criminality - they walked all over them, something they haven't been able to do with the DUP.
So how many DUP MLA`s lost their seats?
 

SideysGhost

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The Unionist dominated constituencies voted for Brexit.

EU referendum: How Northern Ireland constituencies voted - BBC News
Don't play silly buggers Cruimh, we have enough idiots talking shyte these days with the alt-reality Trumpette nutters without you piling in as well.

Any actual analysis of the vote clearly shows the Leave vote in the Unionist-dominated constituencies being significantly lower than the UUP/DUP/TUV vote in those same constituencies at Assembly/Westminster elections. Belfast South, Belfast North, North Down, East Derry, former swing constituency F&ST all voted Remain. South Antrim only voted Leave by a few hundred votes, and the margins for Leave in East Belfast, Lagan Valley and Upper Bann were pretty tight when all three are usually heavily Unionist.

Claiming the entire unionist community was full-on gung-ho for Brexit is total and utter horseshyte, very large numbers of unionists voted Remain.
 
D

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Er a, I presume that most DUP supporters voted for Brexit and if so how can they be accused of selling out?
I reckon that they voted for the portrayal of Brexit (£350 million a week) that was presented to them.

Now that the reality of their circumstance is laid out before them, they might have cause for pause.
 

derryman

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Don't play silly buggers Cruimh, we have enough idiots talking shyte these days with the alt-reality Trumpette nutters without you piling in as well.

Any actual analysis of the vote clearly shows the Leave vote in the Unionist-dominated constituencies being significantly lower than the UUP/DUP/TUV vote in those same constituencies at Assembly/Westminster elections. Belfast South, Belfast North, North Down, East Derry, former swing constituency F&ST all voted Remain. South Antrim only voted Leave by a few hundred votes, and the margins for Leave in East Belfast, Lagan Valley and Upper Bann were pretty tight when all three are usually heavily Unionist.

Claiming the entire unionist community was full-on gung-ho for Brexit is total and utter horseshyte, very large numbers of unionists voted Remain.
A great many of them must have voted remain, because many many nationalists did not vote at all.
 

SideysGhost

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A great many of them must have voted remain, because many many nationalists did not vote at all.
And some nationalists, not many but some, voted Leave! There was clearly a significant and substantial unionist Remain vote, anyone claiming otherwise is either lying or trolling.
 

wombat

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Good article in today's IT by John FitzGerald regarding problems for the North because of Brexit. One point he makes is that NI is far more dependent on trade with the UK than with the south or the EU so there are economic as well as political arguments about any special status for NI.
 

wombat

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And yet the majority of NI voted remain. What does that tell you about the future of unionist power?
Nothing, the status of the north is a different issue to Brexit.
 


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