Let's face it yesterday was a disaster for unionism in Northern Ireland politics. The Assembly shrank from 108 members to 80 but the Unionist members shrank in number from 56 to 40! Yes that is right 18 seats were taken away and the unionists lost 16 of them, 10 by the DUP the other 6 for the UUP.
Now last night time after time DUP representatives came on and talked about the media being the reason they were doing badly. Some even blamed it directly on the BBC while being interviewed by the BBC. Arlene Foster at her count was even hidden away in a room and refused to speak to the BBC all day. This is the so-called "leader" of Northern Ireland skulking away in a room and blaming it on one of the major television news channels. It's all sounding rather Trump-like.
The BBC were the local news that investigated the RHI scandal, they were also the same station that investigated Arlene's predecessor Peter Robinson over property speculation and his wife's affair. Yet through all of that Robinson still spoke to the BBC. The DUP were also claiming that people were still responding to their message, that it was transfer policies of other unionists that were costing unionism and that is was a nationalist surge that was doing them out of seats.
Let's look at some of those claims.
Was it what the media said. A lot of the time the BBC has reported exactly what Arlene and her team have said. They have been in debates not just for the election but in other mediums through the last 10 months. Of course there are also times they are invited unto The Nolan Show or The View or other shows and refuse to turn up to put their case. When they do turn up they talk about being progressive yet their policies by many are viewed as anything put. When they are challenged on this they become all defensive.
While they say that they lost seats because of what Mike Nesbitt said about transferring his vote to the SDLP is it not just possible that they did'y gain as many of that 10% higher turnout as the other parties because of what Arlene and her colleague more that what anyone else said? Maybe that 10% that came out to vote this time for parties that were prepared to break from the sectarian trenches. Maybe they wanted to stand up against Brexit. Maybe they wanted to stand up for equality. Maybe ther did want to send a message about the Renewable Heating Initiative or maybe it was a combination of all of these.
But yeah there are 40 Unionists, 39 Nationalists and 11 Others in the new Assembly. The DUP have lost their ability to lodge a Petition of Concern with just their own MLAs signing it.
But with all of the excuses and actions coming from the Donald Trump book How to Win Elections and Govern, maybe the DUP have been turned into a Donald Trump horcrux. There are only six more to find but I think the following is probably another of them. But the DUP horcrux has not been destroyed just yet, but it has taken damage.