Notwithstanding DUP attempts to pull off a con-trick of Del Boy proportions, it seems a sizeable chunk of the party faithful (and not only those who are part of the Free Presbyterian movement) are distinctly upset at the idea of Paisley entertaining the idea of joint governance with a Provo heavy. The website, Burning Bush has been awash with cries of ‘sell out!’ since the DUP disappointed all those who believed it would hold the line in the environment of prostituted principles. I even have it on good authority that DUP members opposed to the St Andrews Agreement were denied the chance to ask questions to the panel at the recent gathering in East Belfast.
Some argue that the appeasement process has a script. I say it has a palimpsest. The original script used by Trimble back in 1998 may have been erased, but what you have in its place is an identical format describing identical machinations, albeit with different Unionist players. I couldn’t care less about the religion of the power sharing participants (give me a loyal Catholic over a separatist Protestant every time). What incenses me is that Paisley is about to submit his entire past life into a folder marked ‘Fraud’! He resisted power sharing before; why is he sullying his principles now? Sharing power with people dedicated to the constitutional abolition of Northern Ireland is as wrong with Martin McGuinness as it was with others back in the 1960s and the 1970s.
Whatever difficulties republicans have in selling the idea of PSNI loyalty to their grassroots is of no interest. It does not detract from the terrorist past and present of the IRA, nor does it change what Sinn Fein voters are! What we are concerned with here are not the problems associated with a terrorist party and a base of terrorist-approving low-lifes. We (and the DUP in particular) should be more preoccupied with the concerns of decent people who suffered (and still suffer) as a consequence of what the Provisionals did. Allowing them into government destroys the integrity of all who would contemplate such a scenario.