Opinion: Time for UK wide Unionism

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Elections are coming and two recent polls have Sinn Fein inline to win 3 European seats in the Republic and 1 in Northern Ireland.  I highly doubt the recent debacle & arrest of Gerry Adams over the abduction, torture and murder of Jean McConville will seriously affect Sinn Fein`s electoral prospects.  Where then does this leave Unionists?  We can count on Sinn Fein press releases talking about being the only party with MEP`s across the whole of Ireland, the only party advancing an all Ireland agenda. Sitting Sinn Fein MEP and convicted IRA terrorist Martina Anderson has already said: “By electing a strong team across Ireland we can take a strong voice to Europe … our team will, if elected, provide a united and positive voice for all the citizens of Ireland”.  Whilst Mid Ulster Sinn Fein councillor Gabhán McFalone stated at the Gerry Adams rally release rally that “Irish Unity, Peace, Jobs and Progress will be our political focus – a bright future for all the people of Ireland free from British interference.” Sinn Fein also capitalise on their membrship of the communist grouping in the EU. The DUP may have a sole MEP that is not a member of any grouping in the European Parliament whilst the UUP may have an MEP that takes the Tory whip.  Both are isolated and parochial, lone voices in a huge Parliament.  UKIP on the other hand are standing candidates across the UK – a truly UK wide Unionist party with members and candidates in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales & England.  A UKIP MEP for Northern Ireland would be one of dozens of MEP`s representing the UK and dwarfing Sinn Fein`s possible 4 MEP`s. Current polling has UKIP topping the polls and beating both Labour and the Conservatives in the European elections.

The EU is distant, bureaucratic and run largely by unelected quangos.  Who can name the head of the European Parliament or the head of the European Commission?  The UK currently pays the EU £55 million per day (£17 billion per year) and we get back around half of that in grants and the UK rebate.  That leaves the EU costing the UK taxpayer £23.6 million per day. £23.6m which could be used to safeguard the single farm payment if we left the EU.  Our EU membership also ties us open borders with the rest of the EU which has seen mass uncontrolled immigration into the UK from poorer parts of the EU.  UKIP think immigration is good for the UK so long as it is managed and controlled via a points based system along the lines of Australia.  The EU prevents this type of system being introduced by the UK government.  It is entirely possible to trade freely with Europe without being in the EU.  Norway being just one example.  This would allow the UK to form its own trade deals with the rest of the world, especially in the rapidly growing markets of the Commonwealth, China and Brazil.

The EU/UK green taxes on carbon production and the subsidising of green energy such as ugly wind farms have seen electricity prices soar at a time of extreme fuel poverty.  Families are struggling to pay their bills, heat their homes and put petrol in their cars due to government taxes.  UKIP aim to tackle fuel poverty at the root causes.  Not only that but UKIP believe that anyone earning the minimum wage should not have to pay income tax.

There is a worrying trend of low wages across Northern Ireland and in Cookstown in particular, when compared with the rest of the UK.
According to The Poverty Site website:
- Strabane and Cookstown have by far the highest proportion of workers (35%) earning less than £7 per hour. For most districts, the proportion is less than 30%;
- 15% of full-time employees in Northern Ireland are paid less than £7 / hour. This proportion is higher than in any of the regions of Great Britain, with the next highest proportion being 12%.

It is no wonder that families are struggling to put petrol in their cars to get to work and buy heating oil to keep their homes warm, when wages are low but the price of goods is increasing by large margins. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has found that household incomes, poverty rates and the labour market have all deteriorated further in Northern Ireland over the last five years, than in the rest of the UK.

UKIP proposes to remove anyone earning the minimum wage from the tax system to try and alleviate poverty and tackle social disadvantage. The party’s commitment to end taxpayer funded renewable energy scams and prioritise energy efficiency projects will also benefit thousands of fuel poor families throughout Northern Ireland. This however must be complemented by the creation of quality jobs throughout the Province.

The current parties have let us down – at Stormont and at Westminster.  The Northern Ireland Assembly is dysfunctional and in desperate need of reform.  The previous DUP manifesto and the current DUP website all reference reform of Stormont including a smaller Assembly and an official opposition as well as weighted majority voting.  This would entail the removal of the mutual veto / petition of concern and the designation of parties as Unionist & Nationalist.  I fully support these DUP proposals yet we have had years of inertia on these issues.  Victims have been marginalised.

DUP website May 2014

DUP website May 2014

First Minister Peter Robinson states in the DUP Party Election Broadcast that `This election is not about a referendum on the EU`.  This I fear is the DUP drifting towards the Tory line of renegotiation first and also an effort to stop voters opting for UKIP.  There have been statements from the DUP and the First Minister about vote splitting in the election , yet a recent DUP press release states “The theory that votes cannot be split within an STV election is sound”.  This is entirely true. So long as you transfer you vote you cannot split or waste your vote in an single transferable vote election such as the local, Assembly and European elections.

Broken promises and a track record of failure..the political establishment has let you down. They are so busy looking after their own interests, they`ve forgotten about yours.

Send the political elite a message they won`t forget by voting UKIP – and put yourself, your family, your community and your country first. It is time for UK Unionism not Ulster Unionism.

Alan Day (aka Kilsally) is standing for the UK Independence Party (UKIP) in the Cookstown DEA of the new Mid Ulster Council.

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  • grandimarkey

    Time for UK wide Unionism

    And vote UKIP? Funnily enough, this would be the single worst outcome for the Union itself.

    Current polling has UKIP topping the polls and beating both Labour and the Conservatives in the European elections.

    And the Scottish YES campaign rub their hands with glee…

  • Neil

    Lolz. A Unionist complaining about giving more money than they get. Begging bowl firmly in hand saying “the English can’t afford the EU, they need all their money for US!”

    NI gets more than it gives from the EU, and the English, obviously. Remove the UK from the EU and NI would be squeezed between and independent Scotland and a European country. I know Unionists tend to view the union as sancrosanct and (like Republicans) are so convinced of the self-evident rightness of their position, but trust me, money talks, and I can see no faster way for NI to break free of the union would be success for UKIP.

  • http://www.ulster-scots.co.uk Kilsally

    Neil – not true “Of the 37 regions in Britain under the EU’s classification system, 35 are net contributors to thestructural funds; only West Wales and Cornwall are net beneficiaries. This means that, for example, the West Midlands region, which has the lowest disposable income per capita in the UK, pays £3.55 to the structural funds for every £1 it gets back. Merseyside, which has a disposable income of 88% of the average, pays in £2.88 for every £1 it gets back. All the regions in the North East pay in more than they get back, as does Northern Ireland (£1.58 for every £1 it gets back). All sub-regions in Scotland are likewise net losers from the structural funds. ” – http://www.openeurope.org.uk/Content/Documents/2012EUbudget_new.pdf

  • http://www.ulster-scots.co.uk Kilsally

    And the EU money we do get is simply UK tax payer money coming back – better the UK gov determining where it is spent? You are arguing for gratitude that the EU gives us back some of the money we gave to them. It was UK money in the first place.

  • http://www.ulster-scots.co.uk Kilsally

    Interestingly UKIP are polling higher than the Scottish Tories….Farage puts a kilt on Ukip for Union | Herald Scotland http://bit.ly/1jo0KtD

  • Charles_Gould

    Kinsally has always been someone who got my respect as a contributor at Slugger – respectful and puts his view across well. I think UKIP did well getting him as a candidate.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they get a few councillors this time in NI.

  • grandimarkey

    Interestingly UKIP are polling higher than the Scottish Tories

    Wouldn’t be hard.

    I’m sure Farage will get a warm welcome in Edinburgh today…

  • http://www.ulster-scots.co.uk Kilsally

    I am sure he will grandimarkey – I blogged on his last visit “Radical Independence & The Jamaican, Ugandan & Pakistani UKIP candidates « Slugger O’Toole http://bit.ly/15b2tIn ” when Radical Independence told the Huffington Post UK:
    “Farage came up to Scotland to spread his racism and bigotry here – we showed he’s not welcome. ” Pretty sure they will need a new line…

  • runepig

    Killsally, care to comment on the Britain First blackshirted protection detail and ‘armoured cars’ for Nigel?

  • JH

    Have to love the logic of this.

    Too many people earning less than £7 / hour, lowest wages in the UK… so be sure to cut ties with our largest market!

    And people talk about Sinn Féin being economically illiterate.

    I was having stuff manufactured in Czech Rep when they acceded and Bulgaria when they acceded. Import duties evaporated overnight, adding ~20% to my bottom line.

    That’s 20% that went right back into the local economy. Good for Czech/Bulgarian companies too as they got more business and could increase their margins.

    If the UK were to leave the EU it would be ruinous.

    For the record I’m generally eurosceptic too. I find the power structure to be alarming.

    But I spend a lot of time in Brussels now (my gf works for the Commission) and it feels no more ‘distant’ than the UK Govt.

    And no more bureaucratic either. The European Civil Service employs 30,000 staff for a population c500m. I’d wager there are more UK civil servants in Belfast.

  • DogInTheStreet

    The Union is lopsided. Even in the US, mighty California does not constitute a majority of the national population.

    England should break itself into regions/states just like the German lander and give each and Scotland,Wales,NI, equal powers with a written constitution of what powers are reserved for Westminster.

    More importantly, there should be a concordat that states that no region can secede. I can hear the calls of ‘undemocratic’ but this is precisely the rule in US and Germany. It seems to work there and seccessionsist movements are regarded as cranks.

  • Kensei

    Aye that’ll completely sort out Scottish and Irish Nationalism :rolleyes:

    If and when a referendum on a State leaving the Union is a realistic prospect, then we can test the proposition that the United States are indissoluble. As it is, the only evidence is the Civil War, which was both in a different era and had complicating factors.

  • http://www.ulster-scots.co.uk Kilsally

    JH – Do you really think that the UK & EU wouldn`t do a trade deal in such circumstances? The EU trades more with the U than the otherway round. The EU is about to conclude a free trade deal with the US – so why not the UK? UKIP are all for trading with Europe just not political Union with Europe.

  • Outsider

    How are TUV expected to perform in this election? Is Keith Harbinson running?

  • Mc Slaggart

    Kilsally
    ” The UK currently pays the EU £55 million per day (£17 billion per year) and we get back around half of that in grants and the UK rebate. That leaves the EU costing the UK taxpayer £23.6 million per day. ”

    By your figures Northern Ireland costs the UK about the same as being a member of the EU(8.5b).

    Why would UKip keep Northern Ireland?

  • JH

    Kilsally -

    Why not the UK?

    1) No way is the EU going to agree to terms with a separate UK that are preferential to it’s remaining member states.

    1.1) The UK manufactures very little that couldn’t be sourced from the remaining member states.

    1.2) Some foreign companies with UK plants will move to other member states as soon as withdrawal looks any way likely, before it costs them extra to do so.

    2) UK is relatively insignificant in comparison to the USA, and about to become less so if it loses 6 million citizens after the Scottish Referendum.

    3) You do realise a separate trade agreement between the UK and EU would actually increase bureaucracy for both parties?

    I don’t understand this phrase:
    “The EU trades more with the U than the otherway round. ”

    Two parties to a trade can’t trade more with one than the other by definition. Do you mean that the EU exports more to the UK than the UK exports to the EU? Because that’s almost always going to be true of a single economic unit trading with a union thereof. A fairer comparison might be exports/imports as a function of population or GDP or something.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    The UKIP bubble will burst at some point – hopefully by 2015 but probably not in time for the Euro elections. The contradictions within their programme, particularly on tax and spend, surely can’t survive the serious scrutiny of a hard-fought General Election campaign. Not to mention that they are short of quality media performers outside of Farage himself (who has only ‘performed’ through being given a farcically easy ride by the media so far).

    UKIP’s problem in a nutshell: their popularity is based on a populist “hacked off with samey politics”, combined with xenophobia-lite; yet they want tax cuts for the wealthy at the expense of the least well off.

    A populist party like that can only last so long before people realise it’s just another Protect The Rich association (led by a millionaire City operator). And that’s before we get onto the folly of betting Britain’s future on distancing ourselves from our biggest trading partners.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    I should add, they may continue to have a vote after the bubble bursts among extreme libertarian Tory xenophobes; but they will I hope lose the many alienated “stick it up them all” people who either don’t previously vote or may have drifted off from Labour or Lib Dems. Those people are ripe for further disillusionment when the “Tory ideologues but with even less compassion” side of UKIP starts to show through the cracks. As they get big, the scrutiny will too. Let’s see how they hold up. They seem jerry-built to me.

  • Outsider

    Ulsterman, just because someone has a different opinion to you does not make them a xenophobe.

  • http://www.ulster-scots.co.uk Kilsally

    Ah `distance ourselves from our main trading partners` – nope, we will continue to trade with Europe and the EU – we just won`t be ruled from Brussels. But we will be free to set up our own trade deals with other countries too.

  • http://www.ulster-scots.co.uk Kilsally

    yes JH – the EU exports more to us than we do to them – hence in the EU interest to have a free trade deal with the 6th largest economy in the world.

  • JH

    Kilsally-

    “the EU exports more to us than we do to them”

    Right. Because the EU economy, taken as a whole, is 7x larger than the UK’s.

    And saying the UK is the 6th largest economy in the world is a bit of a red herring. It’s like saying the DUP are the fourth largest party in the UK government. It’s true, but it’s deceptive.

    The UK economy is performing acceptably within it’s class, being slightly smaller than France and Germany and just ahead of 3 of the emerging BRIC countries.

    “hence in the EU interest to have a free trade deal with the 6th largest economy in the world”

    Or maybe they’ll kick a trade deal into the long grass so that remaining member states can pick up some of those multinationals when they pack their bags. Probably would be useful to discourage dissent in other states to watch the UK fall down the rankings a bit.

  • terence patrick hewett

    Independence is a political matter and one of history and sentiment. The economic augments are a bit of a red-herring. Both Scotland and Britain/rUK and Ireland will prosper no-matter what transpires. The real crunch time will come when the nations of Europe are asked to join a Fiscal Union; and asked they will be. This will be a total transference of sovereignty. There will be no dodging or fudging it. And my own subjective opinion for what it is worth is that very few will have the stomach for it.

  • notimetoshine

    Kilsally,

    I personally am in favour of comprehensive immigration reform and am myself not wholly opposed to the idea of leaving the EU, but I do have problems with the rhetoric spouted by UKIP candidates.

    On another video featuring Henry Reilly he claims 25% of the prison population at Maghaberry is made up of foreign nationals. Now I have checked the freely available prison service statistics online, and the figures available for the last 3 years do not even come close to this.

    This is a blatant falsehood, based on the worst kind of populist hearsay, surely UKIP can find reliable figures rather than trying to hoodwink people with a folksy style ‘I’ve heard tell of’ approach.

    Also the same video claims that daisy hill hospital is ‘swamped’ with foreign nationals, now apart from the fact that using that phrase to refer to people is unpleasant, I have had cause to visit this hospital on numerous occasions and can’t say I have found it ‘swamped’. However there are no figures available to confirm or deny this statement so why is it put across as fact?

    Surely blatantly misleading the electorate is not UKIP policy? You’re arguments would be stronger if they were based on verifiable fact.

  • http://www.ulster-scots.co.uk Kilsally

    runepig – Britian First are standing candidates against UKIP & other parties in Scotland & Wales as far as I am aware. Also UKIP rules ban ex members of BNP, EDL, Britain First, National Front etc etc from joining.

  • The Gellick

    Some kind of recalibration of Unionism on an archipelagic level is to be hoped for given the current contexts. A strong UKIP, however, is not the outcome that I’d be hoping for. I’d say that one of Unionism’s strengths is its geographical disparity and nuances, and its malleability through time. A strong UKIP across the archipelago is a rather dystopian vision.

  • Comrade Stalin

    This canard seems to get trotted out once every ten years or so, all the way back to the days of Enoch Powell. Unionism isn’t interested in a more UK-centric approach. Politically, it is characterized by it’s adherence to what it describes as “culture” and its hostility to anything that is Irish, and a good dose of paranoia around perceived or imagined threats to those cultural values.

    I think there is a good fit between UKIP and Unionism. The problem is that most people in the UK find UKIP abhorrent.

    Regarding the EU, again (another cliché) I’m seeing this “oh, we’ll just leave the EU and then negotiate our own trading deals” as if life is going to be able to continue on as normal. The irritating regulations and restrictions that annoy UKIP so much are essential to the effective working of a common market which spans a wide area. You can’t just throw all of that a way and at the same time expect to be able to trade as an equal partner. Leaving the EU will mean our trade with our geographically closest partners will get tied up with customs and tariffs.

  • Charles_Gould

    Cs

    Aren’t u a bit out of touch there? Ukip looks set to get more votes than any other party so hard to claim they aren’t getting a lot of support?

  • ayeYerMa

    “most people in the UK find UKIP abhorrent”

    No, only the mentally deranged self-loathing and suicidal effete libtards that the metropolitan media present as being normal. There are going to be a few narcissists across the UK in mental breakdown in a few weeks time as their whole world comes crashing down; crashing down as they realise that all that matters to them – - their own popularity — was all a lie used by the currently dominant insane destructive Neo-Marxist cult to exploit the smug egos of these useful idiots. Happy days!

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “No, only the mentally deranged self-loathing and suicidal effete libtards that the metropolitan media present as being normal. There are going to be a few narcissists across the UK in mental breakdown in a few weeks time as their whole world comes crashing down; crashing down as they realise that all that matters to them – – their own popularity — was all a lie used by the currently dominant insane destructive Neo-Marxist cult to exploit the smug egos of these useful idiots. Happy days!”

    “and that was the last in the series of ‘Politics of the Tinfoil Hat’, stay tuned for our new series of ‘Gardening for Gays’, but first, the weather, sponsored by UKIP: https://soundcloud.com/nicholas-pegg/ukip-shipping-forecast

    ————————-

    Joking aside Kilsally, I wish you all the best in the election.

  • grandimarkey

    @Kilsally

    They may be polling higher than the Tories in Scotland, but 4% isn’t much to write home about.

  • Anaximander

    The UKIP position posits the idea that one can trade with Europe, and keep all the attendant benefits accrued thereby, without being in the EU. This is simply erroneous. Norway trades with the EU, certainly, but it must adhere to all EU regulations without having the slightest say in their making. Norwegian politicians, as well as any sane observer, regularly bemoan the Norwegian/Swiss example which is complex, inefficient, and unrepresentative. Furthermore, the Norwegian/Swiss dispensations were built up slowly and painfully over decades. To think the UK could just ”re-draw the chart” at will and all will be well is a clownish absurdity. So clownish indeed that it seems scarcely credible that anyone could believe the tripe pushed by these mountebanks.

    Most, if not all, British business groupings advocate AGAINST leaving the EU. London’s position outwith the EU would be substantially weakened, both economically and diplomatically, as Washington has noted on more than one occasion. UKIP is, in reality, a Little Englander party harkening back to a long deceased Age of Empire. It represents, at its most basic level, fear and an unwillingness to face up to the fact that Europe has changed, and Britain must change with it. Any notion of a return to ‘splendid isolation’ is merely deceiving the poor sods who are hooked by UKIP’s facile, small minded, xenophobic bait.

    Lastly, it is utterly risible to see Ulster Unionists blathering about all the ostensible benefits of a larger union with global reach and influence, and then, at the same time, performing a volte-face in maintaining that the EU is too big, too overbearing and Britain should leave.

    When it’s Ireland and the UK ‘bigger is always better’, or so we’re told, but between the UK and Europe (the world’s leading common market and political union), smaller is supple and smarter (!!!).

    Now who said Unionists were a dour lot? They’ve clearly got one or two veritable comedians running for parliament.

  • Charles_Gould

    Compare and contrast SF and SDLP on Europe. SF have opposed Europe at each referendum. SDLP have supported. SF is the UKIP of the south.

  • Red Lion

    Kilsally,

    I think if Farage spent a couple of days in NI, doing trademark pub walkabouts in towns like Carrick, Ards, Ballymena etc the UKIP vote in NI would be boosted. I can almost picture getting a good reception in these places, and it makes unionists feel like they matter on a wider UK stage.

    I sense some of the standard unionist vote is disillusioned with DUP and will be open to an alternative. Currently I think an active PUP in loyalist areas are set to have a modest upturn on the back of this. I think the idea of UK wide unionism has appeal in sections of NI, especially as such sections are eurosceptic.

    However, the paradox imo is that the UK wide union will only go forward on a soft union version, devolved, liberal and being in Europe, where the boat isn’t rocked too much. Coming out of Europe is a massive change, as would be NI or Scotland leaving the union for the people in those countrie. Plotting a balanced middle way appeals to the most number of people imo.

  • Anaximander

    Nigel Farage also maintains that UKIP is absolutely ‘non-sectarian’ whilst featuring David Jones, he of Orange Order renown, in their election clips. How many other members of that resolutely ‘non-sectarian’ organization are hanging about in the wings one wonders…………

  • Anaximander

    “I can almost picture getting a good reception in these places, and it makes unionists feel like they matter on a wider UK stage”

    But that’s just it, they don’t matter. At all. The British political establishment wouldn’t wipe their metaphorical backsides with Ulster’s Unionists.

    After all, wasn’t it good old Tory doyen Kenneth Clarke who said after the 2010 election that doing a deal with the ”Ulstermen” was ”no way to run a modern society”?

  • Charles_Gould

    Red Lion

    I was surprised UKIP didn’t stand more councillors – only 25 this time out. Only a fraction of what the SDLP is standing.

  • Charles_Gould

    Red Lion

    I think UKIP will do better than a lot of people think. Their most obvious appeal is to people who are skeptical of (or want to leave the ) EU and that may well resonate well with a lot of people. They didn’t stand in a previous Euro election in NI so its hard to judge how they will do.

  • mac tire

    “Compare and contrast SF and SDLP on Europe. SF have opposed Europe at each referendum. SDLP have supported.”

    Charles, SF support EU policies that are in Ireland’s interests and they oppose those that are not. Perhaps that is what you meant to say.

  • Charles_Gould

    They opposed joining EU, and called for a “NO” in each and every European referendum since. Compare and contrast.

  • The Gellick

    Your last paragraph is spot on Red Lion.

    Future UK wide Unionism needs to be accommodating and pluralist. It needs to provide decentralised spaces, both political and cultural, for the different strands of Unionism across the archipelago. It needs to avoid the pitfalls of aggressive anti-emigration, and insularity that UKIP feeds on.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Why vote for UKIP, can you really trust a group who can’t even work hard enough to get a Westminster seat with something a bit more complicated like helping making goods in the UK with UK raw materials and selling them to countries that don’t even speak a European language like China?

    Could you trust a party leader like Farage on diplomacy, when he went out of his way to say countries like Guatemala should not be given temporary roles on UN bodies if the UK is not on their too, and won’t be if UK left the EU.

    I don’t understand breaking one EU, to replace it with 27 EUs each relying on 26 EUs, with 28 factorial bilateral EUs making the connections that were previously one. How much out of Europe do they think they can benefit from. Why not have separate “UEFAs” created every time England play another football team?

    When I see UKIP, I think crazy libertarians who think hard work and diplomacy can be replaced by jingoism. I see US Republican wolves in British woolly jumpers.