There is a DUP double whammy in the Belfast Telegraph today with an major set piece interview with party Leader Peter Robinson and an opinion piece by Deputy Leader Nigel Dodds. The UUP and media have been fixating on the First Minister issue for a while now and had predicted it would be the central part of the DUP campaign. However, as usual their abilities to predict what the DUP will do seems to have failed them. Both make the DUP position clear as regards the Assembly election. The First Minister rejects the idea that it will be the core of the DUP camapign:
"That won't be the kernel of our campaign. I hope our campaign will be much more positive than that."
While Nigel Dodds argues voter attitudes are shifting and the DUP will recognise this:
"...voter attitudes are shifting. Any politician campaigning on the streets of Belfast or the lanes of Tyrone who thinks they can simply expect to (a) vote and (b) vote for them based in the flag on their rosette will be in for a surprise. There may have been a time when votes could be expected much more than earned, but that day has passed...in 2011, my party will not be stirring up fear - we will be taking a positive message to the voters...It will offer a positive vision, the strongest team and the best plan to steer Northern Ireland through the difficult years ahead as we deal with the Con Dem Cuts"
So in 2011 it looks like they will be following the model of the 2010 Westminster campaign and not the 2009 European campaign.