Well, this is the kind of statement you release when you have zero personal connection with someone. It’s all, well, just a bit needy.
It’s not the usual DUP political statement. Oh no. It doesn’t feel like every second sentence should end in an exclamation mark, or as though the first draft was written with the Caps Lock on. No, someone thought about this before putting it out.
And it’s full of searching half-chewed questions like this:
I know he (Cameron) will recognise that it is critical that we reach our common goal in a manner which does not become harmful to the fledgling assembly that he has consistently encouraged and supported.
That’s no confident assertion, it’s a question (does he recognise…etc?),
But Robinson does this sort of thing very well. When he loses control of a debate, or primacy in the media agenda he fights to get it back. Robinson wants his agenda to dominate. That is an admirable quality and a lot of the reason why he is so successful as a politician.
However he has over-extended himself this time. The fact is a couple of months ago the DUP opposed a motion to ‘prohibit dual mandates of the devolved institutions in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and the UK Parliament’.
And here we are. With double-jobbing drifting perilously close to the white heat of the MPs expenses scandal, Robinson overlooks the past and recreates a more pleasing history given the current climate. So on double jobbing:
I am determined to phase out this practice which most agree has been essential in the early stages of our devolved institutions. I am encouraged that he (Cameron) supports this position which will have an impact on each of the major parties in Northern Ireland – including the party with which he is now associated.
Erm… Cameron doesn’t support your position. He is not rallying behind your campaign. Instead, up until recently your Party opposed Cameron’s position. Peter, you have lost control of the agenda.
This attempt to regain primacy was just too brazen. I hear that when the News Letter got this statement they immediately called up a press office. The DUP press office? Nope. They called the UUP Press Office. Why? Because they couldn’t believe it, they thought the statement was a wind up – they wanted to know if someone was havin’ a laugh.
This statement from Peter beggars credulity because the DUP have been so flagrant in their opposition of the Tories. The DUP have revelled in being on the wrong side of the division lobby to the Tories – and they’ve been vicious in their declamation of Tories over here. (McIlveen might be right, might be wrong – but that the Tories/UUP are vote splitting rascals with a dislike of the OO is the DUP’s party line on this right?)
On May 21, the DUP leader said:
I am also certain that David recognises the importance of any Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, particularly one who is a unionist, being able to work together with the leader of unionism in Northern Ireland. I know that he and I will be fit to navigate the intricacy of his association with a party which represents only a small segment of unionism and we will both work to address, in an ongoing relationship, the interests of the Union.
Which is some distance away from his deputy leader’s position less than a year ago (the Tories have “adopted policies or promoted measures which have been detrimental to the Union or against the interests of unionists in Northern Ireland”). Arlene was equally generous in the Belfast Telegraph last August.
Unless someone tells me different, I think the DUP have over-played their hand. They are now desperate to elbow themselves into space now occupied by the UUP/Tories. If Peter had any real influence or relationship with the next government of Great Britain and Northern Ireland it might have come across in DUP public statements. But the opposite appears to be true – there is a massive gap between the lead unionist party here and the next Westminster government over there. Did it really have to be like this Peter?
PS. Just noticed…. great redesign of the DUP site. It’s big, expansive, carries a heck of lot of information, focuses on leader and candidate, embraces flickr and youtube etc. It is a vast improvement on the last website. Really good stuff. But one thing did raise an eyebrow. The top panel of the landing page shows Diane Dodds (‘Strong leadership in challenging times’) wearing a pearl necklace. Anne Widdicombe dubbed this ‘challenging climate’ as providing reward for whoever had the ‘hairiest shirt‘. I think she was right. While Anne was speaking metaphorically, perfect smiles and pearl necklaces might appear to be a bit out of touch. But that’s just me and the nano-hamsters getting picky again. Otherwise the DUP have produced a really great site to support their candidate. Nice work!
PPS. If you are in the DUP, SDLP or APNI press office, or are associated with these parties, and you have information you want to share then do email me. Happy to post up perspectives from all. There’s only one rule here at Bobballs – I won’t be a prat about info offered in good faith. Can’t be more blatant…