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Those DUP speeches… November 29, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, Northern Ireland.

Some will have missed the DUP party conference, which is perhaps a pity. Because the speeches of party leader Peter Robinson, deputy leader Nigel Dodds and Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Arlene Foster are well worth a read. And not just because they are the single largest political formation in the North – or at least command the greatest degree of support.

Let’s do some number crunching. In their three speeches the term island was used once, this by Arlene Foster, in the following context:

It is also vital that Tourism Ireland starts to promote Northern Ireland as a part of the United Kingdom on the island of Ireland.  For too long officialdom has been afraid to promote Northern Ireland as a country with all its rich cultures and traditions. 

A most interesting analysis, I think many will agree – not least because the use of the term ‘country’. That term is used 10 times in the three speeches – ‘our Country’ [capitalised on the transcript on the DUP site], ‘our wee country’. It’s not always clear whether the use is referencing the UK or NI, though how about this which introduces yet another element – courtesy of Peter Robinson:

Ours is a nation that is made up not just of those from England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland or those for whom English is the language of their birth, but of those who have come to live here and who share our values and ideals.  I’m proud that Britishness is about diversity and inclusivity.
That’s why the story of Mo Farah was an inspiration to us all.
Born in Somalia, he moved to the UK when he was just eight years old.  He ran for Britain and became a national hero overnight winning two gold medals in the London Olympics.
When asked by a journalist whether he would rather have run for Somalia, he replied, “look mate, this is my country.”
His story epitomises the spirit of this nation.

Only two ‘nations’ and both in that paragraph above. 5 Ulsters. 5 ‘British’ or ‘Britishness’. 12 ‘United Kingdom’. A raft of ‘internationals’.
2 ‘First Minister’.
No ‘South’. No ‘Republic’. No ‘Irish’ other than Irish Open and Northern Irish. 4 ‘Borders’. These latter in the following context:

The one party that seems oblivious to the shifting sands of opinion is Sinn Fein.
One of the most bizarre developments in recent times has been the Sinn Fein call for a Border Poll.
Now, I know opinion polls are not a perfect gauge of public opinion, but when the last one showed that fewer than 10% want a United Ireland now, republicans really should take the hint.
Republicans asking for a border poll makes turkeys voting for Christmas look like a carefully considered strategy.
As a unionist, sure of the outcome of such a vote, it would be easy to support a referendum, but that would not make it the right thing to do.
At the heart of the St Andrews Agreement was the knowledge and strength that what was agreed allowed politics in Northern Ireland to move away from issues about the existence of the border.  What Sinn Fein is doing only drags us back into that sterile and divisive debate.

And this:

I see Gerry Adams is running around, even going to America, calling for support for a united Ireland and demanding a border poll. Talk about being out of touch! Poor old Gerry is so self deluded that he’s the only one left who still thinks he wasn’t in the IRA!

1 ‘Dublin’.

Belfast is now among the world’s top 10 cities for financial technology investments ahead of Dublin, Glasgow, Toronto and even Bangalore.

4 ‘United Ireland’s’. But no ‘North’.
9 ‘Sinn Fein’s’ – that caught me on my first check, they dropped the fada. Mostly uncomplimentary. And the following is an example of a sort of back-handed compliment – at best:

Some people still wonder, after all that has happened, how we can work with Sinn Fein.
The answer’s simple: it’s really not about us; it’s about making life better for the people we represent.
It’s not always easy, but it’s absolutely the right thing to do.
Northern Ireland is stronger when we work together at home and abroad.

2 ‘Declan Kearney’. 5 ‘Republicans’. 6 ‘IRA’. No ‘violence’. 5 ‘peace’ or ‘peaceful’. No ‘democracy’. 5 ‘democratic’. 5 ‘dissident’ or ‘dissidents’. But wait… one of those was in the following sentence:

And none of this progress would have occurred if republican paramilitary dissidents or unionist political dissidents had got their way.

And look, just after that paragraph there’s this sentence:

Because working together means working for every citizen of this Province and getting things done. 

Province? ‘Province’. 11 references seeing as you asked.
1 ‘Protestant’.

I don’t need to remind you what it was like a decade ago.
Stormont stumbling from one suspension to the next, unionists divided and dispirited, the IRA still armed and active.
Defeatism and despair were common-place, but today we have the confidence of knowing that a majority of Protestants and Catholics alike support our constitutional position within the United Kingdom.   They know they are better off with Britain.

2 ‘Catholics’. 17 ‘community’ – one of which is ‘cross community’. 6 ‘communities’. Not necessarily in all instances the ones you might expect:

The exact same disconnect also applies to our rapidly-emerging new communities from Eastern Europe and farther afield.  These are people who have come to Northern Ireland in search of a better life and greater opportunity.

1 ‘diversity’. 1 ‘inclusivity’.

4 ‘nationalist/s’ – 1 of which is Scottish. 1 ‘independence’ – Scottish.

1 ‘respect’, 1 ‘respectful’.

3 ‘Londonderry’. No ‘PSNI’.

3 ‘ships’. 3 ‘Titanic’.

16 ‘jobs’.

5 ‘tax/es’.

No ‘conservative’ or ‘conservatives’. 7 ‘Queen’. 22 ‘Unionist’ or ‘unionists’. 13 ‘unionism’. 1 mention of ‘unions’ – as in trade unions. 18 ‘business’ or ‘businesses’.

1 ‘left’. 1 ‘far left’.

23 ‘leader’ or ‘deputy leader’. 1 MLA. 1 ‘Paisley’.

And a parting thought, which perhaps didn’t come out quite the way it was intended by Robinson…

So, as you can see, the DUP is putting Northern Ireland on the international map.

Surely that’s never been a problem.


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