Belfast Telegraph

Culture clashes and liberal causes: extracts from the book

"Tea-makers and Stepford wives have been some of the analogies used to convey the role and position of women in the DUP. Traditionally, men have been the face of unionist politics, whilst women have remained in the background, taking on the roles of party secretaries, treasurers, and fund-raisers."

"Rhonda Paisley, daughter of the former party leader, was Lady Mayoress of Belfast and a Belfast City councillor during the late 1980s and early 1990s. She has been described as personifying the culture clash within the DUP between old and new, where her 'social attitudes may have seemed too modern, her lipstick too red, and her skirts too short for some of those of a more traditional bent within the party'."

"Several interviewees claimed that support for the St Andrews Agreement was influenced by the threats of the British Government to extend the 1967 Abortion Act to Northern Ireland if a devolved power-sharing deal could not be reached. This may be a further attempt at justification of a controversial deal by DUP representatives. No mention of abortion legislation appears in the accounts of the St Andrews talks provided by Tony Blair's chief of staff Jonathan Powell, or the Secretary of State Peter Hain, and, even if it had been a threat, it may have been a bluff."

"The key to explaining attitudes towards homosexuality within the DUP is the presence of very religious members... negative attitudes towards homosexuality are more prevalent among Free Presbyterians... so the main reason why we found older people, who joined the party at an earlier stage, have a more negative opinion about homosexuality... lies in the fact that there are many more Free Presbyterians among them."

"In 2013, the DUP tabled a Petition of Concern to prevent nationalist and non-aligned MLAs introducing same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. Whilst this stance is vulnerable to challenges via human rights courts, for so long as the DUP (and other unionists) have a veto, it is unlikely to change."

"The DUP does not impose its social and moral conservatism upon a hostile electorate demanding progressive change; rather, it tends to reflect the cautious, religiously influenced conservatism of electors, which may be waning, but is still very significant. Only a minority of Northern Ireland's electors support a woman's right to choose on abortion."

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