The DUP holds the office of First Minister, but can this party actually govern?
The passage of the great Stormont policing and justice yawn suggests that the DUP is lacking in this final ingredient.
Governing is all about achieving what you set out to do with the agreement, acquiescence, co-operation, or even the grudging acceptance of others. The DUP under Peter Robinson is palpably failing to do this. The ability to maintain order, or when it does break down to restore calm on the streets, is an important measure of the acceptability of any democratically elected administration. Stormont was prorogued because Brian Faulkner’s Unionist administration could no longer do this under the twin assaults of republicanism and Paisleyism. So devolving policing and justice within a framework and environment in which this responsibility can be successfully discharged is vital to the health of our newly-restored devolved democratic institutions.
The DUP is in difficulties for two reasons. Firstly it is deeply riven between those who want to move on and those mired in the past, who but for the pre-signed letters of resignation would have already joined the TUV. Secondly, the ethos and drive of the DUP is to dominate and control.
When Dr Paisley led the DUP back into Stormont and restored the devolved Assembly, he had the sense and touch to proceed with deliberation and patience, and to work with Martin McGuinness to build up trust and confidence. Under Robinson that trust and confidence has evaporated.
CLLR JAMES McKERROW