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Allister puts it up to Nationalists

27 January 2006

In a straight-talking speech tonight in Randalstown,  DUP MEP Jim Allister has said nationalism has to choose pragmatism over sentiment if it wants to see progress towards devolution.

In the course of his remarks Mr Allister said:-

“Nationalist politicians, both Sinn Fein and SDLP, may not like to face it, but, like it or not, the DUP – as the voice of the Unionist majority – does have a veto on unacceptable forms of devolution.  There is no point in them repeatedly swearing allegiance to the Belfast Agreement.  Mantra politics will deliver nothing.

The world has moved on.  An all-inclusive d’Hondt Executive is out of the question.  This is 2006, not 1998!

If in due course nationalists do not realise that progressive devolution is better than nothing, then nothing it will be. It need not be that way, creative thinking and a willingness to move outside the box that is the failed Belfast Agreement can bring advancement towards durable devolution.  Durable devolution was, of course, one thing that the Belfast Agreement spectacularly failed to produce.

So my message to nationalism, particularly the SDLP, is, don’t deny the possibilities of the future by chaining yourself to the failures of the past.  Sentiment should not overrule pragmatism.

As for Sinn Fein, their paramilitary muscle and criminality may have given them purchasing power with the British Government, but its very existence guarantees Unionism will not trade with them.

They know what they have to do.  No one can do it for them.  Nor can anyone pre-empt or purloin the judgement which Unionism in its own time will make on whether Sinn Fein has truly and irreversibly left its hideous past behind.”

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NI politics