1) THE DUP CONFERENCE - There is so much here that you can bring to potential essays... Firstly, there is of course Gregory Campbell's caustic repetition of his Curry and Yoghurt insult, which he used earlier in the week. This repeat of his remark has further infuriated nationalists and moderates in Northern Ireland .. the tepid reaction to the repetition of the joke at the conference perhaps even shows the DUP nervousness of the issue. Certainly the press coverage was not about potential successors to Robinson or the potential for the DUP to be potential power brokers at the general election. It was all about Campbell's remark. This was a spectacular own goal in PR terms. If you want to view the reaction to this you only have to look at the icy interview between Peter Robinson and Mark Carruthers on Sunday Politics (BBC Iplayer)
WHERE CAN YOU USE THIS? You can use this in any answer on EXECUTIVE RELATIONSHIPS ; SF ; DUP ; ASSEMBLY PERFORMANCE ; EXECUTIVE WEAKNESS
2) ASHERS BAKERY: This is another DUP issue which has wider significance. Ashers is a Christian bakery based in Northern Ireland. It was asked to produce a cake celebrating a gay marriage. As this was against the principles of the owners beliefs, they refused to bake the cake. As a result the company is being taken to court over equality legislation. Where this becomes intensely political is in the DUP support for Ashers. This is part of what can be termed CULTURE WARS. This is used to explain the series of public spats over equality issues. There is a deeply conservative section of Northern Ireland represented by an unlikely alliance of fundamentalist Christians and sections of the Catholic church. Their stance on issues like abortion and gay rights has a significant amount of support in NI. The DUP has a track record when it comes to gay rights - Look back over Iris Robinson's public comments over homosexuality... then Edwin Poots (DUP health minister at the time) banning of gay people giving blood .. a decision which is still being challenged.. then the DUP opposition to gay marriage in Northern Ireland. The DUP has a fundamentalist Christian core. Remember it was led for years by the REVEREND IAN PAISLEY. The Free Presbyterian church he started counts many of the DUP among its members.
We can ask ourselves whether this core support and the backing of these issues serves to strengthen the DUP support among NI's large conservative unionist population. Alternatively, do these issues only serve to divide the party, rejecting moderate opinion within the party and giving the party a reputation for stubborn resistance to change
3) TOILET PAPER
A familiar figure here also has to come in for comment over another ill judged remark. Gregory Cambell stated that Sinn Feins demands for an Irish language act would never be met and that the paper their demands were written on was like 'toilet paper' This shows the depths of mistrust and antagonism behind the executive relationship between the 2 largest parties. The parties are due to meet in talks with Gary Hart the American Democrat politician. They are due to try and hammer out major issues such as flags, marching and the past. Instead, agreement looks as far away as ever.
4) JUST WHEN IT LOOKED LIKE THE DUP WAS IN THE TOILET WITH THE PAPER.. THE 'B...........'sS' TURN UP
So what terrible publicity for the DUP. What glee for SF on the moral high ground!!! Oh... sorry its not to last.. Gerry Adams speaking in Enniskillen at what they felt was a private function was recorded by a journalist from the impartial reporter making some insightful comments. He stated that the Equality agenda was a 'TROJAN HORSE' and that they had to 'BREAK THE B_ _ _ _ _ _S' This was hugely controversial. Firstly - Gerry Adams use of the term Trojan horse, seemed to imply a 'trick' It seems to state that SF are using the equality agenda to break the hard line unionists stubbornness to change. This only helps justify Gregory Cambell's comments to some degree. The use of the B word seems also to slur all unionists. The DUP machine went into operation on these comments knowing they had a get out of jail free card from an unlikely source! One key difference between Campbell's remarks and Adams was one clear difference. Adams very quickly made a guarded apology - tweeting 'Mea culpa' I am guilty .. When asked about what he is guilty of it becomes slightly shady.. He claims he was referring to bigots with his 'B's comments He says this was wrong to do in using the language but claims it was out of his frustration at the lack of progress on equality. Certainly, the pressure on Adams (on top of the Mairia Cahill alegation) will be increased in terms of the leadership of the party. For DUP SF relations it is a new low - HOW LOW CAN WE GO!!!???
HOW CAN YOU USE THIS? essays on SF- DUP relationship. SF questions; DUP questions ; or as side references in the SDLP / UUP / Alliance - remember these are signs of weakness