WHAT’S THE BIG PICTURE?
The DUP feels the border is secure, so defending it merits only a one line “strengthen the Union” mention in the manifesto.
It seems a lifetime ago that uptight predictions of doom and threats to smash Sinn Fein were staples of DUP electioneering.
The issue of First Minister doesn’t feature either. Instead the emphasis is on the economy.
The DUP is positioning itself as a low tax, centre-right, pro-family party with something to offer nearly everyone, from the old to students, farmers and business.
Public sector workers might not feel quite so loved as other demographics.
It also majors on reducing the size of the Stormont apparatus by 2015.
SOME KEY POINTS
- ·A single education system for the whole community, but with academic selection.
- The DUP “will support (cross-border) co-operation which is in the interests of Northern Ireland” and where it represents good value for money.
- Corporation tax to be reduced in stages to 10% to undercut the Republic’s 12.5% rate.
- No separate water charges, a policy shared with Sinn Fein.
- Regional rates to be capped at inflation so that we have the lowest household taxes in the UK.
- Breaking down sectarian divisions and promoting shared facilities to save money.
- Reducing Air Passenger Duty to match the Republic and secure our air link to New York.
- Tougher sentences for violent offenders, especially those who attack the elderly, coupled with cuts in prison administration and segregation budgets.
- Using the schools estate to provide affordable childcare.
- Oppose the extension of the 1968 Abortion Act to Northern Ireland.
- Strengthen the Ulster-Scots Academy and promote a Unionist Academy.
ATMOSPHERE AT THE LAUNCH?
The DUP seems smooth, efficient and eager to make changes.
“Immediately once the election is over we want to be sitting down and talking about how we can improve the way Government operates,” Peter Robinson said.
He and Nigel Dodds made a good-humoured double act, joshing their way through questions, including one accusing them of hypocrisy.