DUP condemns itself

This is the Island Civic Centre, home of Lisburn City Council, before it was decorated for Christmas.

You may note the absence of a Union Flag outside the building. Presented with equality and good relations advice to fly it only on “designated days”, the DUP, Ulster Unionists and Alliance Parties agreed.

The DUP dominates this Council. Currently, with the Mayor’s casting vote, it has an absolute majority of seats on its own.

This is Belfast City Hall, home of Belfast City Council, before it was decorated for Christmas.

You may note – though only if you look really really closely – the presence of a Union Flag on the building. Presented with equality and good relations advice to fly it only on “designated days”, the DUP and Ulster Unionists embarked on a campaign suggesting the Alliance Party was doing Sinn Fein’s bidding. How? By, er, agreeing to the precise same policy Unionists themselves adopted in neighbouring Lisburn where the DUP has an absolute majority…

Now, does a campaign delivering 30,000 misleading leaflets and managing an orchestrated “consultation” decrying the very party you need to negotiate with for adopting a policy you yourself adopted in a neighbouring Council strike you as a sensible move…?

Given the outcome, what should happen to those responsible for the campaign?

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73 thoughts on “DUP condemns itself

  1. Very interesting above IJP; I had always assumed that the union flag was flown 365 days of the year in LCC.

    I think the APNI’s position on the matter was very grown up and I suspect they will receive some reward at the polls next time around. Would I prefer the union flag never to fly of City Hall? Of course, however, I am open to compromise on the matter and tonight’s decision is the best that could be found IMHO

  2. Jimbo Jones says:

    That to me was the interesting point. The DUPuup needed to convince Alliance to change their position to win the vote on 365 day flag flying.

    So they issued 30,000 leaflets that would have no other impact than to antagonise Alliance.

    And that’s the point.

    The DUP’s actions were never about a genuine campaign to retain 365 day flag flying – and everything to do with building the careers and profiles of certain young Councillors, and trying to retake the East Belfast Westminster seat.

    People were flagrantly played, community relations severely soured and Belfast’s reputation took a big hit, all as the latest rouse of flag waving vote getting.

    • Precisely.

      In a letter to the News Letter six weeks before, I explicitly offered a compromise. One (eg Cenotaph) was undoubtedly available.

      But Unionists didn’t care about the Flag. They cared about electoral gain. All for themselves, nothing for city as whole.

      • Jimbo Jones says:

        And by the way, rather than an empty flag pole, why not at least fly the Belfast coat of Arms in between designated days?

        Surely coming from Belfast, and pride in its industrial heritage, is an identity everyone can subscribe to…

        …even them’uns.

  3. The Listener says:

    The reason for the difference in attitude by the DUP is to be found in human nature. In Lisburn it could give from a position of strength, its members did not feel forced. In any case relatonships between the various councillors may have been better to start with. Lisburn, is by nature a provincial town, whereas Belfast is seen as the capital of this part of the UK. Thus the dividing lines ae sharper. In Belfast the DUP probably felt compelled to grand stand. The Unionists felt that they had to sing the same song othewise they would be marginalised by their perceived electorate who would turn to the DUP. A mirrored behaviour can often be seen with regard to the SDLP, which is afraid of being marginalised by SF. The ever reasonable Alliance may yet pay an electoral price for their prinicipled stand. What a sad world we live in.

  4. […] comedy running through last night’s vote at the Belfast City Hall is such that this morning, few ordinary citizens of Belfast will notice whether there is a flag there or not. The councillors obviously will. Nationalism’s delicious revenge will be as one moderate […]

  5. andyboal says:

    Typical hypocrisy. Very well done, Ian, for bringing this to our notice.

  6. andyboal says:

    DUP claims that it was a UUP policy which they opposed, according to Colin Kennedy (Ards council) – do you have access to the minutes?

    • andyboal says:

      Luke Poots has said the same… Colin says they couldn’t change it back due to EQIA

    • My understanding is that UUP was largest party at time.

      But that is the usual DUP irrelevance.

      If they can’t change it back on legal grounds, that kinda backs up Naomi’s contention that Belfast had to change it to in line with Lisburn on legal grounds.

      What goes for the City Council with a DUP majority goes for the Council with a Unionist minority, pretty obviously.

  7. paul says:

    ian the alliance party i am afraid have shot them selves in the foot.folk are not at all happy with long and i know lots who lend her there vote wont do so next time.The DUP in east belfast will romp home at the next gen election mark my words

    • It’s good to hear from you again, even if we disagree!

    • The Listener says:

      That indeed will be the most obvious electoral fall out for Alliance. I think abstention might have been the wise course of action. I think what they did was principled but unfortunately Northern Ireland politics can make a bonfire of principles.

      • andyboal says:

        Abstention on the first motion would have seen the Union Flag removed permanently, and abstention on the second would have made no difference – besides, they proposed the second motion.

      • Richard Cronin says:

        Perhaps that is a good reading of the situation in East Belfast, however principled stances like that will help they’re vote in other areas.

  8. Clare says:

    It was the right decision but it will cost Alliance their Westminster seat.

  9. harryaswell says:

    Your post was remarkably quick off the mark, Ian. From your very specious comments it seems you are trying to cover the Alliance shame as an emergency knee jerk action. Alliance obviously does not see itself as a “Unionist” or “British” party, but more as a Nationalist United Ireland party. Being British myself and very proud of it, I would wish to see the Union Flag flown at every opportunity. The union with the rest of the UK is extremely important, not just to me, but for many thousands of citizens within Northern Ireland, both Protestant and Catholic. Your remarks about Lisburn can be seen as mere rhetoric with no point. As regards the Union with the UK, all British citizens should be resiting any attacks from alternative desires, including any attempts at hammering in the thin edge of the wedge. That does include insisting on the Union flag being flown at all times. We “are” part of Britain, and our Culture should be respected by Republicans, who so far have done everything but! Alliance can expect to lose a number of seats as a result of their remarks and votes for the wrong action.

    • andyboal says:

      Alliance is neither Unionist nor Nationalist, that is the whole point. We don’t fit into your little boxes.

      • harryaswell says:

        Exactly. So, you will lose many votes, possibly to UKIP and certainly to the UUP who DO know where they stand in this regard. Sadly, I fear Alliance has badly shot itself in the foot. It is obvious that for the sake of power Alliance is perfectly prepared to vote for a United Ireland. Just another of your wee boxes to deliberate over.

    • Richard Cronin says:

      Ha! Vindictive comments like yours only serve to drive people away from the parties you support.

      • Indeed, Richard.

        And I haven’t even started yet – just wait until you see the full scale of Unionist misinformation on this subject…

      • harryaswell says:

        HEH!! I don’t think so!! If you call my remarks vindictive , then you have just demonstrated the major weakeness in Alliance/LibDem behaviour. Weak leadership, weak strategy and weak reaction. I hardly think that “anyone” would be driven away from any party because of my opinions on that!! – It becomes ever more apparant that Alliance, and this includes IJP, are living in a different universe to the rest of us and surviving on wishfull thinking only.

      • Richard Cronin says:

        @harryaswell Its a point of principle i think for unionism that the perception of being weak is the greatest sin of all.. would that for a protestant party ye would know better your bible on that topic! Furthermore unionists committal to the strong reaction at times is – once again- another thing that is driving people away from the very parties you support.

      • harryaswell says:

        Eeerm! Translate please?

  10. paul says:

    yes good to be back ian i think you might be getting a high profile uup mla soon if the rumours are right.

  11. paul says:

    i think the uup mlas basil mccrea and possibly john mccallister will defect to the alliance party…very shortly

    • andyboal says:

      That would in theory trigger d’Hondt again, as SDLP would become entitled to pick before the UUP, but it wouldn’t make any difference to the number of ministers each party has. Interesting to see what happens.

      I wonder if moves will be made to amend the rules so that whichever party holds the justice portfolio is deemed to have taken their first seat under d’Hondt. It’s not something you could really oppose if someone were to propose it, unlike abolishing DEL in isolation instead of reviewing all of the departments…

      • Andy – it wouldn’t, actually, for the Executive.

        The Executive seats are allocated according to party strengths *at the previous election* – so that’s still UUP 16 (despite being now 15), Alliance 8 (but ahead of the second UUP after the divisor on first-preference vote), regardless.

  12. paul says:

    its been a bad couple of weeks for alliance which will cost you big time ian you could be losing an alliance councillor to the DUP on belfast city councillor alliance are doing there classic facing both ways at the same time they have played this to try to get liberal nationalist type voters while also trying to shore up its liberal type un ionist vote.well ian i am afraid its back fired very very badly.you have shot your selves in the foot big time

    • Paul,

      I know you mean that in the spirit of democratic debate, but just to be clear: members of my party are being forced from their homes and restricted from their workplaces as a result of five Councillors going into a democratic debate and voting the way they said they always would.

      The UUP, notably, has until now failed to condemn this at all – during which time it has seen fit to launch two anti-Alliance statements all while tensions remain high.

      You will appreciate that people’s safety and right to get on with their day’s work trumps any debate over flags.

      Regardless of electoral politics, you will agree with me that now is really not the time to be hyping up tensions further, in the way some foolish Unionists have done.

  13. Clare says:

    Harry, can I just ask, why is it ok to fly the Union Jack on restricted occasions in unionist controlled councils outside Belfast but not in Belfast itself?
    What was agreed in council this week was fair and reasonable and is the practice right across the UK.
    I’m sorry but this belief (it’s illustrated in the parades issue as well) that we predominate really is outdated and we are to serious about a shared society we have to accept that.

    • harryaswell says:

      Clare, I leave you to look at these links.

      http://www.flaginstitute.org/index.php?location=7.1.2

      http://www.flaginstitute.org/index.php?location=nations_flag&parent=6

      You are quite wrong about the Union Flag “not” being flown daily throughout the rest of the UK, it most certainly is!

      Shared society? What shared society? All we get from Republicans are snide attempts to undermine the Status Quo. As regards the differing arrangements you ask about between Belfast and other Councils, (Lisburn perhaps?), this has already been adequitly explained in this blog. Not being a Councillor I don’t have any personal views apart from gut instinct. As far as being outdated is concerned, no other part of the UK has had to put up with terrorist attacks for 40 years and now be governed by unreconstructed gunmen! – Little wonder that things are slow!!

  14. […] everything to do with the Alliance party in East Belfast. As Ian Parsley noted, the DUP who are in the majority on Lisburn City Council fly the union flag on designated days, yet they are against this with BCC? It is intellectual dishonesty and inconsistent on the part of […]

  15. paul says:

    ian it is alliance that has actually put out statements blaming the dup and uup of the present problems brought on by alliance parties appalling and disgracful antics..i repeat the alliance party blaming other political parties is a disgrace.I utterly condemn the voilence against anybody proprty or threats etc.but that dosnt excuse alliance of blaming the dup or the uup which i say is a disgrace.i have been out and about talking to what i would say are middle of the road folk moxderate moderate folk/voters and i have never seen such anger underneath which i woul call the quiet silent majority you the alliance party ian will pay a very heavy price for this appalling decision.

    • Have a look at today’s Belfast Telegraph.

    • harryaswell says:

      Well said Paul. IJP seems to live in a parallel universe. Alliance arrogance has exceeded itself. They forget that most Protestants are indeed Loyalists and Unionists, and are prepared to fight, if necessary, for their principles. Something that it is very evident Alliance is not prepared to do. Peace at ANY price? I don’t think so!

    • ulsterman says:

      The DUP and UUP stirred up the situation by distributing leaflets against the Alliance Party. The flag protesters are a disgrace to Northern Ireland and the flag that they claim to love so much. They are a disgrace to the name Protestant and they should be ashamed of the way they destroyed Belfast at Christmas. God save Northern Ireland from those who claim to love it.

      • harryaswell says:

        Oh, I agree with your sentiments. The protests using violence are indeed very wrong. However, SO are Alliance. They should have known what would happen over the flag business. You do have to note, however, that Republicans treat the Tricolor in exactly the same fashion! Alliance have a lot to answer for, and will reap their just rewards at future elections! Alliance stands exposed as extremely naieve and arrogant in the extreme. They have, quite obviously, become totally out of touch with public majority sentiment. And here the protesters are, prancing off to Dublin! What good is that supposed to do? In the meantime, all shops should by now have their websites up and running so as to counteract any High Streety losses due to politics.

  16. Clare says:

    Harry,
    One of your links refers to the flying of the union flag from the Palace of Westminster.
    I don’t follow how Belfast City Hall, a council building, is being compared with this but allow me to give you a link which may compare better. If you prefer a closer comparison there is always Lisburn as has already been said here.
    http://www.lancaster.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/civic-ceremonial/days-which-flags-flown-lancaster-mor/
    This is all a storm in a teacup in my opinion, but I’m afraid flags and emblems bring out the worst in people here as the fascism in Carrickfergus has shown.

    • harryaswell says:

      Clare, are you English? You seem to miss the point. We, here in Northern Ireland, should, if we wish to do so, fly the Union Flag whenever it is lawful to do so. Lancaster Council has every right to decide it’s own destiny in that regard. Belfast has also. However, in Northern Ireland there is the danger that we are being bounced into a United Ireland by deceit and manipulation from Sinn Fein and other Republicans. We have suffered 40 years of terror and death and bloodshed directly from these people. We now have Sinn Fein in power, largly peopled by unreconstructed terrorists and, yes, murderers. Majority says NO to this. Alliance has tried to sit on the fence and please all. You simply cannot do that. Like it or not, sectarianism and bigotry lies just below the surface. To pompously declare the debate as won by democratic vote is just rot. It was won by Alliance deciding what side to take is all. They chose wrong, IMO.

  17. paul says:

    alliance are trying to spin there way out of there appalling antices and i am afriad ian it has not worked and will not work come the elections.folk will remmber longs refusal to toast her majesty the queen which was yet another appalling alliance stunt.the splits in alliance on same sex marriage will also come back to haunt you ian and now this latest alliance belfast city stunt.just like alliance party position in NI future alliance is all over the placesupporting a hard line irish republican socialist party ie Sinn fein in belfast ciry council who sole aim ans objectives i to erode our culture and idenity and our way of life ian is a disgrace

  18. You gotta love the old “We’re just as British as you… oh you just don’t understand us” line!

    The real cause of Unionists’ insecurity is their dependence on a neighbouring island whose people, by Unionists’ own admission, don’t understand them.

    What you don’t understand you don’t miss.

  19. Clare says:

    No Harry I am not English, are you more British than Lancastrians?
    Unionists have been harping on for years about being treated the same as the rest of the UK, well this is what the rest of the UK does, it dosn’t get hung up on flags and flies them on council building on specific dates.
    You mentioned 40 years of terror. As awful as it was, isn’t it time to move on?
    If you advocate a shared society, then attempting to triumph one over other isn’t the solution whether that be insisting that you can parade anywhere you wish because its the Queens highway, or flying the flag every day to prove a point. Neither is it right to glory in what has been decided by BCC.
    It’s wrong that some Sinn Fein elements are glorying in this but ithe decision isperfectly consistent with the aims and aspirations of a shared society.
    We simply cannot wish away the fact that a sizable proportion of Belfast citizens do not recognise the Union Flag as part of their culture. And the vote taken this week WAS a democratic decision whether you like it or not.
    There is STILL a basic problem here in recognising the validity of other peoples culture. Flying the Union Flag on specific dates was in my view an excellent compromise.

  20. Clare says:

    I should add Harry, how can you be certain the majority says no to this in Belfast?
    The only way to measure this, and its not an accurate way to do so, is by measuring the number of unionist representatives and they are in the minority.
    Are you saying some Sinn Fein and SDLP voters might support the flying of the flag all year round?
    I can’t see any logic in your view that this isn’t a democratic decision. Only an opinion poll on the issue could support your argument amoung Belfast citizens.
    And this is a matter for Belfast citizens, it is their council building.

    • harryaswell says:

      How can YOU be so sure they do? You are being intransigent and lacking in empathy for the “British” of us here in Northern Ireland, not just Belfast. The whole point of the Good Friday Agreement, and the truce with the PIRA, was that Republicans and Unionists would forgive, forget, and recognise our differeing cultures. So far, Republicans have paid mere lip service to that, if any. Until they do, all talk about flags is mere foolishness based upon ignorance of the behaviour of humans or a total superiority above the rest of us based on foolish lack of empathy. Democracy goes out the window once you meddle with peoples identity and culture. Surely, a lesson well learnt from the PIRA! Alliance has not thought through the results of their imprudent vote. Why didn’t they vote with the other Unionists, or at least abstain? No, they fell into the usual Republican trap and are now seen as a United Ireland party and hence not Loyalist or Unionist Typical Liberals, sitting on the fence as always!

      • andyboal says:

        Harry, if they had abstained, the Union flag wouldn’t even fly on designated days.

        Sent from my iPhone

      • harryaswell says:

        OOPS!! Hadn’t realised that. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t! – Nothing very democratic about that then. Had Alliance voted with the Unionists can I presume that none of this would have happened? – If so, seems Alliance took the least responsible way out.

  21. other paul says:

    I hope you can still see the humour in this eddie izzard clip:

  22. harryaswell says:

    Yes, of course. The only problem is that the flags we are concerned with are the flying of them, not taking over a foreign land. I suppose many would call the RoI foreign, but I would not. We most certainly have absolutely NO wish to invade the Republic Of Ireland, a friendly neioghbour! ROTFL!!!

  23. paul says:

    ian i am gob smacked by some of the comments you have made.every body is appalled by any threats or any violence its sickening however this does not take away the fact that the alliance party have voted for a sinn fein motion.and its going to cost you big time and i mean big time you see if i am right

    • harryaswell says:

      HEH!! You are quite right Paul. Sadly, you are of course, wasting your time. They won’t listen. Being so supremely sure that one is right that you listen to nobody with differing opinions is known as arrogance. Pure arrogance in this case. Again you are obviously right, the elections will indeed voice the true feelings of the electorate.

  24. Clare says:

    Some very erroneous comments being made here. Alliance did not support a Sinn Fein motion. Sinn Fein wanted the flag removed completely they certainly didn’t want what was finally supported by Alliance.
    I applaud Alliance for the maturity with which it has come to decisions recently. The gay marriage decision was another one.

  25. Clare says:

    In answer to your question Harry I am Northern Irish and British also. I chose to carry a British passport. But, like fellow citizens in GB I have no desire to use it as some sort of triumphant symbol over anyone making a different choice.
    I also recognise that a sizable minority here see themselves as solely Irish. In respect of diversity I therefore see no need to flaunt my choice over them in the flying of the flag every day of the year. It’s no different in council buildings in GB either, that’s the point I am making.
    The point you seem to be making, which I see as irrational, is that NI is MORE British than Finchley. You do you own cause a diservice in trying to be triumphalist and insisting on 365 days. It’s seen in the parades issue too I’m afraid. No one has more rights than others.
    I repeat again, this is a reasonable compromise and it recognises still that this state is British, but not in a triumphalist way as you would like it to be and remain.

    • harryaswell says:

      Who said anything about the passport? Who said anything about triumphalism? We are talking about the on-going attempts by Sinn Fein to undermine the Union at every opportunity, and using the flags issue as their latest tool to that effect. You don’t seem to have read, or understood what I wrote! All is therefore lost. Those persons protesting have no other way to show their wishes until the next election. It should be a caution to Alliance to modify their sanctimonious behavior. Had you been here in the Troubles, you would have seen what civil strife was all about. It seems you were not. ANY chipping away of “Britishness” is regarded by those responsible as an attack on their identity. I fear you are not aware of the fact that the problem is far deeper and more complicated than “reasonable” or “compromise” or “triumphalism”. You do need to communicate rather than merely pontificate.

  26. Clare says:

    It’s a bit sad Harry that you can’t even see that your position is an attempt at triumphalism.
    From 1921 until probably 1998 Unionism here held a position of superiority which failed to recognise a sizable minority whose identity was Irish (NO not a Sinn Fein identity).
    Until the advent of power sharing (and beyond with some it appears) it was believed that nationalists were to be subjugated and their position was to be given little or no recognition.
    This belief in flying the flag for 365 days is a throw back to that era.
    The new era is better represented by this decision.
    I have understood what you have written Harry. It’s no surrender and its outdated.
    As I’ve said already compromise isn’t a dirty word, if it weren’t for compromise we would be back to the troubles and killing you are going on about.

  27. The Listener says:

    If I may enter into the fray between Clare and Harry! On the one hand Harry is talking from the heart, which rules the mind, and Clare is being logical. There is nothing more painful for a man than a logical woman, when she is undeniably right!

    The fact is that Belfast City Council reflects the demographic make up of the City at the present time. S F, together with SDLP have no desire for the Union Flag to ever fly over the City Hall, or other Belfast Council controlled buildings. The DUP supported by the UUP wish to continue with the tradition of flying the Union Flag every day of the year. The problem is that if Alliance had abstained, the Nationalists would have out voted the Unionists and that would be the end of any flying of the Union Flag over City Hall until the DUP and the Unionists had a lucky break at an election. That is democracy, and democracy must be respected whether or not the end result is disappointing.

    I have no idea as to how many of those who voted for SF or the SDLP care whether or not the Union Flag flys over the City Hall, however those elected seem to wish that it disappeared. Their argument is that it detracts from the City Hall being a shared space. This mindset has been around for some time, to many of us it is a little bit of over stated sensitivity, but nevertheless it exists and for many it is genuine and must be treated as such.

    My sadness is that the SDLP together with the Unionists did not broker the deal that it should fly on significant days in the year. After all that enhances the “meaning” of the flag. That would have shown maturity on the part of both the SDLP and the Unionists. There are good sound people in both parties but, why, oh why, they have to follow the posse because they fear that they would otherwise lose votes to the larger parties? If they made some effort to sell mutual deals to their supporters by consulting them rather more than they do, such measures could be achieved without rancour, and it would be a step in the right direction towards mature politics.

    • harryaswell says:

      LOL!! Well now, I never said that Clare was not logically right. What I am saying is that logic doesn’t come into it! We are a Celtic race, just as much as any other Celts, we are indeed ruled by our hearts. That is surely why the English made such a bad job of Ireland all those years ago! The madness of the Civil War, the crazy business of the Easter Rising! No wonder that Carson did what he did. We are still exactly like that, and Republicans are made of precisely the same stuff. That is why even the dogs in the street know exactly what Sinn Fein are up to with this demand for less flying of the Union Jack. Just another way to wittle down the Britishness and culture of the Protestants. No wonder the hoi-polloi became violent. They always do and always have done. The Republican hoi-polloi do the same. So long as Alliance refuses to accept these sorts of things, the more silly and stupid mistakes they will make. Nobody is defending the violence, it is wrong. But you try telling that to the people involved! In this instance, had Alliance been sensible, they would have supported the rest of the Unionists to back the flying of the flag. None of this would have happened if they had. Now? Why, it could indeed blow out of all proportion and return us to the nearly civil war situation of the recent troubles. We havre Alliance to thank for that. They will surely feel the draft at future elections! That IS what democracy is about, of course.

  28. paul says:

    as i have said ian alliance will pay a very very price for there appalling belfast city coucil stunt supporting a SF motion to bring down the union flag for it to only fly on a few days a year is a disgrace.Alliance are seen now to be backing a nationalist agenda and will be since as a nationalist party with a big N now.I am a moderate moderate middle of the road type and i know i speak for many folks i have given alliance transfers before but never again and those that gave long there vote which was a anto robinson vote i know will never vote allaince again.Its time the alliance party had princples on its stance of ni position in the uk with respect to a boerder poll.Nobody knows where you stand ian sitting on the fence will further damage you.And boycotting a meeting today at stormont is in the interests of alliance nobody else.i am begining to detest the alliance party full stop

    • Seriously Paul, watch your language please. “Pay a heavy price” is exactly what we are doing, but not electorally.

      • paul says:

        you will pay a very heavy price electorally and you have only your selves to blame.I have never been as ANGRY about anything in a long long time ian but your boycott of the meeting up at stormont yesterday as far as alliance to me is the last straw..I used to think alliance was a smashing party which was moving forward but not any more.like many many folk you do not exist as far as i am concerned how dare you dilute my idenity and culture and way of life.

      • If your identity is so insecure the Alliance Party can “dilute” it, you should ask yourself questions, not the Alliance Party.

        In what way are you less whatever-you-are than you were when you filled in the census?

        By the way, did you note the census results?

  29. paul says:

    ian it is the alliance party that has diluted it and the dogs in the street know that.

  30. Clare says:

    A dilution of a feeling of superiority over ‘the other lot’ is the key problem.
    What Alliance have contributed towards is a parity of esteem. How dare they!
    You either accept there are two identities here or not. If you do accept there are two
    identities you reflect that in your symbols. The Nationalists wanted the Union Flag removed the Unionists wanted it to stay 365.
    With a calm head you accept a compromise (there’s that dirty word again) and that has been achieved. Time to move on?

    • Nail hit on head with the first remark, Clare.

      We are all minorities now. Unionism and Nationalism both hate pluralism. But it’s a fact of life in 21st century Northern Ireland.

      • harryaswell says:

        Clare and Ian, both trying to be logiclal!! That really is a joke. Look where logic has got them so far!The problems about ireland are far more complicated than merely logical. We now have a situtation where ther is very little majority for Protestants over Roman Catholics, just about 4%, but still a majority none the less. The really important part is the majority who are British. This remains a large majority. Sadly, Alliance have exposed themselves to be, NOT a non-sectarian party as they have always claimed. but an Irish Nationalist party! I would suggest that the real answer to the floating voter is now to put trust in the new UUP. They, at least, will defend the Union to the death and are indeed a truly non-sectarian party.

  31. paul says:

    total nonesense both of you and clare i trust you are also an alliance party member or a ni tory.i have as i have said never know such anger on the ground and its coming from the silent majority.who will go about there bisiness in a quiet manner and come the next gen election punish the alliance party mark my words i for one will be out canvassing as will hundreds

  32. paul says:

    and ian u say watch what folk say i notice you are whipping things up on twitter with your trolling and trying to make political capital i have to say you are wasting your time.the alliance party have dug a great big hole and you will bury yourselves well you are burying yourselves in as we speak.l very much look forward to the next gen election as do thousands of folk.

  33. paul says:

    ian i have been out and about talking and lisning to folk we are all appalled by any threats or any voilence but ian the stark reality is folk right across the board and many are alliance voters will never vote alliance ever again

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