Time for serious Unionist outreach…

Though there was some derision at the appointment of Martina Anderson as Sinn Fein’s ‘point woman’ on Unionism, there is, some argue, in comparative termsat least little concerted attempt to reciprocate. Johnny Andrews argues that the context for long term debate has changed. Even Sinn Fein, he argues, recognises that Northern Ireland is a much more meritocratic society. The Union he believe is safe. Therefore, it is time for Unionists to begin to seriously court the direct votes of Catholics.

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  • Bob Wilson

    This article is reads nicely but at its heart is an inherent contradiction: maintaining 6 county parties that are ‘catch-all’ unionist rather than left or right will not lead to a normal political society.
    It is therefore doomed to keep politics in the ‘nationalist framework of reference’ and the UUP focused on ‘Protestant’ votes as the UUP Unique Selling Proposition is its unionism not its other policies

  • George

    Hmmm,
    the Irish Republic has “created a deprived underclass” but only in the blue skies of the United Kingdom can “a fairer, inclusive and more meritocratic society” occur.

    A nirvana where “pro-Union Catholics who can benefit equally from the social, welfare and public service provisions of the United Kingdom.”

    You couldn’t make it up.

  • Yokel

    Yeah I’d rather have the backhander Republic of Ireland any day….

  • Ulster Tory

    A fair attempt at trying to give the UUP a purpose – but too much wishful thinking – you get the impression that the author is trying to convince himself.
    Reg’s attempt at re-positioning the party to the “left” of the DUP has failed i.e. more community focused, PUP links, engagement with loyalist paramilitaries etc. It’s back to the drawing board, but there appears to be no more options. The DUP have taken over the more tradionalist unionist wing of the party. Become more liberal and you end up squabbling with Alliance over 6% of the electorate. The party seriously needs a vision & purpose.

    The only option as I see it is to build links with the Conservative Party. Not like it hasn’t happpened before…..

  • Dec

    Become more liberal and you end up squabbling with Alliance over 6% of the electorate

    That fairer, inclusive and more meritocratic society didn’t last long, did it?

  • eranu

    if people here want to move on from the unionist / nationalist thing then they need to stop talking about it ! how many times in that article did you read ‘the union’ , ‘unionists’ , ‘save the union’ blah blah blah. it makes me cringe when i hear people talking about ‘the union’ as if it was some enormous towering thing that needed constant maintenance. the equivilant nationalist phrase is ‘all ireland basis’. eg blah blah blah, on an all ireland basis….

    it makes your skins crawl….

    if a unionist party wants to move on from tribal politics then start an out reach to ‘people’ , stop talking about nationalists and unionists. Try talking about the people of Northern Ireland, or the people of Belfast etc. to me this seems obvious but im not sure that our politicians are actually able to think in other terms.
    all they have to do is go to different towns and villages and talk to ‘people’ about ‘policies’ and avoid talk about the national issue. the only problem for them would be coming up with policies that were more than vague waffle about making things better, blah blah blah !

  • kensei

    “The only option as I see it is to build links with the Conservative Party. Not like it hasn’t happpened before…..”

    Yeah, Cameroon’s hug a hoodie touchy feely greeny powder blue Conservatives want to be associated with Ulster Unionists, the last bastion of Empire mentality.

    “all they have to do is go to different towns and villages and talk to ‘people’ about ‘policies’ and avoid talk about the national issue”

    Yes, and then people will vote for those who they trust on the National question. Policies? Policies!!??? We have no power to do squat. You may as well talk about the weather.

  • Antain

    Another false dawn for Ulster Unionism. In case anyone hasn’t noticed there has for a long time been an avowedly non-sectarian party for whom pro-Union Catholics could comfortably cast their votes. It’s called Alliance and it has never garned enough votes to elect a Westminster MP. I think the UUP is heading the same way.

  • Anna Dale

    “The Union he believe is safe.”

    If that is true, why do we still need *Unionist* parties?

    “Therefore, it is time for Unionists to begin to seriously court the direct votes of Catholics”

    No, following on from the first point, it’s time for them to attempt to normalise politics here and if they are genuine in their desire to do that, then the religion of potential voters should be inconsequential.

  • George

    Yokel,
    I just find it hilarious that “outreach” has to involve maintaining the lie that somehow being simply British in the Union is better than the grey Irish Republic.

    Andrews could have stayed on topic but instead talks about a “deprived underclass” in the Irish Republic when a third of children in Northern Ireland live in households where the only income is from government benefits.

    As I said, you couldn’t make it up.

  • Rafa Benitez

    “pro-Union Catholics who can benefit equally from the social, welfare and public service provisions of the United Kingdom.”

    Hee, hee. Just shows you the mindset. Irish=Catholics=lazy=no wish for employment=welfare.

    I thought this kind of mindset died out with the Victorians!

    This is their attempts at reaching out to Catholics. ‘We know you Irish are genetically lazy, and we at the UUP understand that it’s hard to break your genetic code, so come aboard and secure your right to sponge!’

    This would have been insulting if it wasn’t so obvious that we’re one of the most productive people on the planet (3rd in the world), and that anyone who matters knows this.

    By the way Mick, your site is being used as a reliable source in the Gulf daily news. Just thought you’d be interested.
    http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/Story.asp?Article=157091&Sn=WORL&IssueID=29193

  • inuit_goddess

    George,

    The Irish Republic has the highest poverty rate in Western Europe.

    It makes a lot of sense to point out that, in seeking to grow the NI economy, we certainly don’t want to replicate the enormous divides in income that exist south of the border.

    It’s true that the economy in the south and east of the Irish Republic is booming, but for someone who’s at the bottom of the heap, NI is a better place to live by far, due to the superior social welfare system here.

    We need economic growth *and* social cohesion – until very recently the south completely ignored the latter.

  • Yokel

    George, what is considered better can’t be maesured and put on a list. Thats why the Irish economic boom and so on will not affect the Unionists views on soveriegnty and when the South was considered a back water it didnt make any difference on nationalist desires.

    It may sound awful but Ive watched poor communication, particularly from unionist reps for decades. How could anyone forget great statements on security such as ‘the govermment much launch a falklands style operation’ (early-mid 80s after the Falklands War) and ‘their must be a taking taking down of the IRA’s command and control structure’ (early 90s just after the first Gulf War).

  • darth rumsfeld

    I think you’re being slightly unfair to Andrews rafa- though the mindset you identify certainly existed- remember liberal hero Terence Marne O’Neill’s wibble that if you gave a Catholic a house and a job-why dammit, he’d act just like a Protestant.

    The significant difference between Martina Anderson and Jonny- apart from the fact that Johnny’s weapon of choice is a Purdey 12 bore on the grouse moor- is that Johnny writes the same op ed every six months and Reg says nice things about Sir John Gorman, and hey presto the UUP convinces itself it is pluralist- while Martina finds anyone with a nominal protestant label- quaker, trade unionist, ex-prisoner and bores them to tears with a monotone of MOPEry sugarred with a few asides about the need to work together in a new ireland that Unionists aren’t interested in. She hasn’t met middle Ulster, and Johnny hasn’t met the average GAA supporter- and neither realises that these are exactly the people they need to convince, not the eccentric, the obscure, or the plain crazy

  • kloot

    The Irish Republic has the highest poverty rate in Western Europe.

    Real poverty or relative poverty ?
    There is a massive difference.

  • Julian Robertson

    We all know there is a hell of a long way to go to “normalise” politics here. Many of us want that, many of us do not as it’s easy politics and provides a readily identifiable enemy to shout at. To easy to define your politics simply because of your enemy’s.

    I just can’t see normalisation happening from within the local parties though I do not for a moment dispute the intentions of many within those parties.

  • Rafa Benitez

    Maybe so Darth,

    But instead of trying to state that Catholics would have a more secure future, with better job prospects (he would have been lying, but that’s what politicians do)plus a welfare system to help during hard times, he went straight for the juggular. ‘You boy’s can have your dole’.
    I don’t believe that it was intentional, but this makes it worse as it demonstrates that the big house Unionist thought process has progressed very little in the last 200 years.
    He stated:
    “we must reach out as a party to pro-Union Catholics who can benefit equally from the social, welfare and public service provisions of the United Kingdom.”
    As if that were the first and only concern on any Catholics mind.

    Well Mr. Andrews, you’ve failed miserably in reaching out to those ‘dole hopping’ Catholics, so it’s a bit hypocritical to preach to others about reaching out.

  • eranu

    kensei, yeah, the devolved administrations in the UK dont have the powers of a national government, but they do have a certain amount of administrative powers. all i would like to see for policies here is something like a detailed business plan that you get in a large company. i work in IT and have been involved in a few large scale projects for a variety of companies. i think its warped my brain into logical thinking, but thats another story..

    the school system in NI would be a good example. we all know there are plenty of half empty schools and it would be better to close alot of schools and save money. but as far as i know no party has any detailed policy regarding what they would do and how they would do it and what the benefit would be.

    id like to see a document detailing

    -names of all schools in NI
    -numbers of pupils in each school
    -list all schools with low pupil numbers that should close
    -group schools that will close / amalgamate in each area
    -details of building requirements in amalgamated schools
    -prices of land to be sold off
    -timescales for changes
    -amount of money to be saved in each region
    -details of how they would spend the extra money to improve the reduced number of schools
    -etc.

    a detailed document would qualify as a proper policy to me. it would show costs and benefits. then they could go to the public and say ‘we will change schools by doing this this and this. which will save X million pounds. we’ll then use that money here here and here.’
    if people have moved past the tribal stuff, then they might say ‘hey, those guys in the ***** party have some good ideas, i think i’ll vote for them’
    heres hoping anyway……..

  • Tochais Siorai

    The UUP haven’t a hope in hell of getting votes from Catholics but if they’re serious about ‘outreach’ then they need to send someone like Trevor Ringland out who doesn’t have attitudes like Andrews, doesn’t have a kneejerk attitude to the Republic, is recognisable, and as Darth made a point about GAA, has actually been to GAA matches and does make an effort to engage and understand.

  • Rory

    This sounds all so lovely, ever so David Cameron. Maybe even a little Walt Disney.

    The problem it seems to me is that the only catholics likely ever to have been pro-union were natural Tories and since taxation in the RoI is now more attractive to natural Tories they are more likely as ever to follow self-interest. As for the social welfare and health advantages of the union, these are fast eroding with increased stealth privatisation of the NHS and tougher rules on unemployment and disability benefit, which tightening will only continue whichever party takes power. Besides which an eventual level playing field in health and welfare throughout the EU must surely be the future.

    I fear the UUP members would be better in the long run to embrace reality and look to an alliance with their natural comrades in Fine Gael.

  • George

    inuit_goddess,
    I’m sure you would like to believe that there are more poor people in the Irish Republic than anywhere else in Western Europe but I’m afraid it ain’t so.

    There are poor people, quite a few actually, but it doesn’t help to use relative poverty surveys.

    Because then people earning less than 18,000 euros would be at risk of poverty in the Republic because of its high standard of living. (UK is worse on relative poverty surveys by the way due to City of London and the like.)

    Luckily, soon we will all be using the EU-SILC survey measurement which looks at consistent poverty.

    The Republic has 5.5% according to this method. This has been used in Northern Ireland since Autumn of this year so soon we shall comparable figures. I await the first survey with interest.

    As for benefits, why do you think the northern welfare system is superior to the southern one?

    The old age pension is at 193 euros at present and will hit 200 euros a week by next year for example.

    That’s 135 sterling.
    According to the NI Pension service, its pensioners get 84 quid a week. Bit of a difference.

  • Crusty Burke

    It’s laughable to hear the UUP “reach out” to Catholics with Andrews on one hand, and for Lord Laird to spin the usual Unionist anti-Irish Republic rants on the other.

    Does one hand of the UUP know what the other is doing?

  • Nevin

    [i]Cameroon’s hug a hoodie touchy feely[/i]

    Do you think he should follow the example of Mary McAleese and have a little jig with her at Finaghy Crossroads?

  • kensei

    eranu

    You may not have noticed, but we don’t even have the glorified Council that is the Assembly anyway.

    As for your proposal, I also work in IT. It hasn’t lost my compass for what be complete political suicide though. Proposals that detailled at an election has one guarentee: to piss a lot of people off.

  • kensei

    “Do you think he should follow the example of Mary McAleese and have a little jig with her at Finaghy Crossroads?”

    This is a common concern with you, but what the fuck are you on about, Nevin.

  • fair_deal

    To succeed outreach requires time, people and money. Three things Unionism lacks. If people want to see this come about they have to volunteer and/or donate money. Trying to run politics with a skeleton crew with a shoestring budget just won’t deliver.

    I would add the health warning that outreach is more than appointing people but to succeed their need to be internal education and control of public message.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “It’s laughable to hear the UUP “reach out” to Catholics with Andrews on one hand, and for Lord Laird to spin the usual Unionist anti-Irish Republic rants on the other.”

    well Ulster Scots was identified by Trimble pre-leadership as an untapped resource, and to be fair there is now clearly a proven demand. Whatever the reactions some of Laird Lord’s more flamboyant stunts evoke, it has served a positive role in improving Unionist confidence- and interestingly Protestant confidence in the cross border areas of Ulster.

    But…

    Trimble also knew well there was a Unionist RC element- see the appointment of Sir John Gorman and Patricia Campbell to positions of prominenence, and the Somme Association rescuing the 16th Division from obscurity.

    Interestingly however, it never went beyond that. No equivalent of the Ulster Society that harnessed intellectual Orangeism. Not even a focus group- inevitably chaired by Dermot Nesbitt (ah- perhaps that explains it)-for Irish Unionists. And the attention paid by Trimble then to that source of votes is still enormous compared to what happened post GFA, or Empey’s efrts today

  • Nevin

    Kensei, I thought the details in the link would be fairly clear. I’m opposed to loyalist and republican paramilitary fascism and mafiaism. Just imagine the fuss if sexually deviant clerics were promoted as role models for young people.

  • kensei

    “Kensei, I thought the details in the link would be fairly clear. I’m opposed to loyalist and republican paramilitary fascism and mafiaism. Just imagine the fuss if sexually deviant clerics were promoted as role models for young people.”

    You are opposed to loyalists and Republicans working together to try and tackle common problems and reduce trouble? That was basically the content of that link.

    What the fuck are on about cleric for now? Seriously, stay off the crack.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Tochais Siorai

    On the contrary the UUP does get votes fom Catholics, just not very many is the problem. The same is also true of the SDLP in the other direction.

    I think the Tories have a much better chance of catching both

  • eranu

    kensei, by political suicide, do you mean that the other parties would try to bad mouth the details? i would expect this also, politics being a dirty, underhand, slimey, sell your granny, nasty business.. but they would have nothing to counter with if they dont have a detailed proposal of their own. a politician who has nothing to say or cant answer the question ‘what would you do then?’ is going to look stupid.

    at the minute there is nothing from local parties other than ‘we will make X Y and Z better, blah blah, on an all ireland basis/the union…’

    if i had the option of voting for that waffle or a party with well worked out detailed proposals, id go with the latter.

  • Nevin

    Kensei, when you put the links together with the reports of the cross-party Northern Ireland Affairs committee at Westminster you have Mary McAleese endorsing paramilitary control of many local communities, even if it is mutuality agreed by the respective paramilitaries.

    I mention clerics because of the differing community responses to the abuse of children by paramilitaries and some clerics. IMO the children have been and are at much greater risk from the actions of paramilitaries than clerics yet folks seem to get far more agitated by the behaviour of the latter.

  • kensei

    “kensei, by political suicide, do you mean that the other parties would try to bad mouth the details? i would expect this also, politics being a dirty, underhand, slimey, sell your granny, nasty business.. but they would have nothing to counter with if they dont have a detailed proposal of their own. a politician who has nothing to say or cant answer the question ‘what would you do then?’ is going to look stupid.”

    I’m going to close schools x y and z. Cue “Save Our Schools” candidates and attack. It’s suicide.

    “Kensei, when you put the links together with the reports of the cross-party Northern Ireland Affairs committee at Westminster you have Mary McAleese endorsing paramilitary control of many local communities, even if it is mutuality agreed by the respective paramilitaries.”

    No, you don’t. You have The Presidentendorsing an intiative to get people who were previously trying to kill each other working together which will hopefully make a positive difference to both communities. It is only sinister if you have some specific proof of some untoward behaviour in that case or you are a mentally damged and see the world in a very strange way.

    Also, the IRA is for all intents and purposes gone. Get a new line.

    “I mention clerics because of the differing community responses to the abuse of children by paramilitaries and some clerics. IMO the children have been and are at much greater risk from the actions of paramilitaries than clerics yet folks seem to get far more agitated by the behaviour of the latter.”

    No, you mention clerics because you wanted to slip it in because you are a b i g o t, and I tend not to use that word too often. Actually, maybe it would be better if you went on the crack.

  • Nevin

    So I’m an agnostic b*g*t, Kensei. Well, well well!!!

    According to the IMC, the Sinner AC is still in place. This ‘legitimate government of the island of Ireland’ has still got its political, organised crime and policing and justice wings.

    So they do little side-deals with paramilitaries on the other side of the house – and they both get praised by Mary McAleese. Now that’s bad news for democracy.

  • kensei

    “So I’m an agnostic b*g*t, Kensei. Well, well well!!!”

    No idea about the agnostic bit. But yes, you are a b*g*t.

    “According to the IMC, the Sinner AC is still in place. This ‘legitimate government of the island of Ireland’ has still got its political, organised crime and policing and justice wings.”

    According to the IMC, the IRA has given up is guns, is moving away from “criminality” and needs to have certain structures in place to stop splintering. And that’s an organisation run by Unionists for Unionists. But let’s not selectively pick facts, shall we?

    “So they do little side-deals with paramilitaries on the other side of the house – and they both get praised by Mary McAleese. Now that’s bad news for democracy.”

    No, what is bad news for democracy is the refusal of one part to recognise the mandate of another party. What is bad for democracy is that the structures that people voted for in a referendum still aren’t in place. What is bad for democracy is the SDLP and UUP becoming irrelevant by focusing on their political opponets, rather than their potential constituents. Former enemies working to remove problems and solve some of the problems around them does not even come close to registering as a problem for democracy.

    Now, time to put up or shut up. Do you have some information that says anyone is doing anything illegal or untoward is happening in this particular case?

  • Greenflag

    Antain,

    Another false dawn for Ulster Unionism. In case anyone hasn’t noticed there has for a long time been an avowedly non-sectarian party for whom pro-Union Catholics could comfortably cast their votes. It’s called Alliance and it has never garned enough votes to elect a Westminster MP. I think the UUP is heading the same way.

    I would’nt even have to think about it Antain – It is . Andrews probably means well but trotting out John Gorman -war hero and tame Castle Catholic won’t make any make any impression on the vast majority of Irish nationalists and none at all on Irish Republicans .

  • Nevin

    Kensie, I didn’t realise that opposition to paramilitary fascism and fascism and support for democracy made me a b*g*t ….

    The barbaric and other criminal behaviour of the loyalist and republican paramilitaries is extensively catalogued in the Maranatha Memoranda and NIA reports. You can read them at your leisure here.

  • kensei

    “Kensie, I didn’t realise that opposition to paramilitary fascism and fascism and support for democracy made me a b*g*t ….”

    You don’t support democracy, as you support keeping SF, with a mandate of a quarter of population here, out of government.

    And it’s like anything. Get obsessed with saomething at the expense of reality and compassion and you’ll wind up in bad places.

    “The barbaric and other criminal behaviour of the loyalist and republican paramilitaries is extensively catalogued in the Maranatha Memoranda and NIA reports. You can read them at your leisure here.”

    Loyalsists and Republicans have done bad things, yes. moreso loyalists these days. that wasn’t the questuion. I asked you if you have you any evidence that this cross-community group has been involved in anything untoward or is orchestrating any crime? Or indeed anything other than rying to ease tensions in the area?

    If not, time to shut up Nevin.

  • ciaran damery

    Unionists and orangies who refr to themselves as “protestant” do not have to reach out to the Irish people in the occupied territory. They just gotta be civil and normal, that’s all. As for Andrew’s contention that the “The Union…..is safe.”? There will always be strong resistance to partition, be it in the political arena or during war, the “union is living on borrowed time. The most unionists and little englanders can do is postpone the inevitable. Hence of the oft heard comment by Unionist pols or terrorists that “it will be a generation” or “50 years at least” etc. Republicans want the inevitable reunification to occur now, we owe it to our children. Orangies and Paisleyites obviously think differently.

  • Chris Donnelly

    To succeed outreach requires time, people and money.

    FD

    Does it really require any of the above?

    Surely there are already within unionist ranks enough people active in politics to initiate an engagement strategy. The DUP ranks now include an unprecedented number of elected representatives for the party, whilst there are undoubtedly many scores of non-elected party members who could be tasked with initiating some type of engagement with nationalists and republicans.

    It hardly requires money to meet with people of a nationalist persuasion; as for time, surely that’s just a matter of making some?

    After all, where there’s a will, there’s a way…

  • Hank Williams

    Been following this forum for quite a while. It makes me laugh at the idea it’s the forum for ‘intelligent’ debate about norn ire. This place is mainly full of shinners and their apologists down on their knees praying that the glorious joining of the ‘irish’ peoples in the nirvana of a united ireland will happen in their lifetime. The idea of an ‘irish’ identity is getting pushed further down the line with the influx of EU and other nationals into both north and south. I know that the republican/IRA ethos was stepped in a quasi racial theory of pure irish stock, but I’m afraid the 21st century is here and you can no longer look to the prods as the transgressers: you’ve got the near/far eastern and eastern europeans to blame for the desolation of the celtic eden. At the end of the day the rest of the world has no interest in us since we stopped killing each other in significant numbers. For all the shinners and fellow travellers on this board, take the dummy out of your mouth and realize that the prods are not going to agree with you on fundementals, but it doesn’t mean we don’t want to talk to you!

  • bertie

    “The UUP haven’t a hope in hell of getting votes from Catholics”

    So what way does John Gorman vote these days?

  • egroeg

    Ulster Tory said:

    “The only option as I see it is to build links with the Conservative Party. Not like it hasn’t happpened before..”

    Since when did the Conserative Party believe they have a political mandate for a 9 county ULSTER?

    How can Tories hold meetings in Donegall, Monaghan or Cavan.if they cant even hold meetings in any of the other six counties of Northren Ireland?

  • egroeg

    ‘[b]Republicans want the inevitable reunification to occur now, we owe it to our children.” [/b]

    ciaran damery,

    If you owe it to your children why did republicans agree to the eradication of Eire’s article’s 2 & 3’s claim over Nornern Ireland and sign the GFA?

    Its obvious to the dogs in the street the [b]MAJORITY[/b]of Eire’s polulation dont want Gerry or Martin about the place were they only gave the shinners 6.5 % of the popular vote. in the most recent election.

    Compare this to 1918 when Sinn Fein captured 48% of popular vote and 73 of 105 Irish seats in elections, reunification in any forseeable future, is still a republican dream.

    The ballot is stronger than the bullet .

  • Nevin

    Kensei, you inadvertently create a wonderful image of the caring compassionate mobster in a lounge suit embellished with a parapolitical rosette helping old ladies across the street.

    I suppose it’s only a matter of time before the ‘civic police’ are issued baseball bats with blue flashing lights. They’ll look so grand in their black and tan uniforms. Will the berets/balaclavas be replaced with baseball caps?

    The political cartoonists will have a field day.

    Democracy RIP.

  • fair_deal

    Chris

    “Surely there are already within unionist ranks enough people active in politics to initiate an engagement strategy”

    From my experience of Unionist parties no there are not. As I said Unionist parties are run with a skeleton crew. UUP membership has dropped, especially its activists base (some went DUP, more went home) and what it does have is increasingly aged. In many parts of NI the DUP can put together canvas teams crews at elections but little activity in between. Also if you want to see a room empty very quickly start mentioning money.

    As I said on another thread it is amazing how often good ideas within Unionism go nowhere because of these practical barriers.

    “It hardly requires money to meet with people of a nationalist persuasion”

    There is more to outreaching with a broad community than just assigning a person the job of talking to nationalists. There are several hundred thousand of you. If you appoint one person and think that’ll do the trick then you really are doing it for the optics.

  • kensei

    Nevin
    “Kensei….

    So to get to ther point, you have no evidence of anything. You have no evidence, even, if anyone in this group is involved n something untoward in other areas. So, you are ranting without attempting to see the other side of the argument and endless repeating your own opinion. I think thaty qualifies you for the title you earned earlier.

    Hank

    A small tip. It is best not to randomly walk into any thread and post rantings. You have to at least pretend it’s related to the topic at hand.

    kthanxbye.

  • egroeg 

    [b]We can safeguard the Union[/b] 28 September 2006

    As the devolution deadline approaches, some observers might be asking if the Ulster Unionist Party is dead in the water? Not so, protests party officer John Andrews. Here, he presents a new vision for unionism and argues that history shows that the UUP can work with nationalism to make Northern Ireland work (28 September 2006 )

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/opinion/story.jsp?story=708041

  • tiny

    A lot of ‘stay at home unionists’ are despite what their propgandaists claim turned of by the sectarian retotic of the DUP, might they not be attracted by Andrews vision?

  • tiny

    “Also if you want to see a room empty very quickly start mentioning money.”

    Apparently in Lagan Valley those who left the UUP to join the DUP aren’t able to raise funds the way they used to, no functions with ‘drink’ no ballots etc, and after the fallout from the ‘Pope with parkinsons’ inpersonation no more gospel concerts in Drumbo!

  • fair_deal

    Tiny

    “A lot of ‘stay at home unionists’”

    No one knows why they sit at home because no one has ever asked them.

  • ciaran damery

    Egog says, – ” why did republicans agree to the eradication of Eire’s article’s 2 & 3’s claim over Nornern Ireland and sign the GFA?”.

    With respect eggnog,

    Mainstream republicanism signed on to the gfa.

    The articles in the southern constitution were and are irrelevant and insignificant since De valera interned Irish Republicans in the 1940s.

    We will have our country back. No doubt about that. It’s just that politics takes time, as a republican activist, I’ve become used to the quick hit, the instant gratification, if ya like. But we gotta be patient, victory is ours

    Mar shampla, how many of the last bunch of taoisigh from Lemas to Cosgrave to Fitzgerald to Haughey did ya hear trumpeting articles 2 and 3. They were insignificant for decades.

    Meanwhile the Govt. Of Ireland ACT, as
    decred by a English parliament is history, irreversible and criochnaithe.

    Beirfidh Bua!
    Ciarán

  • Reader

    Kensei: You don’t support democracy, as you support keeping SF, with a mandate of a quarter of population here, out of government.
    So, what’s FGs mandate like in the 26 counties? Are they in Government? Is there a democracy down there?

  • Nevin

    Kensei, I think mobsters in lounge suits is a reasonable term to use to describe those paramilitaries who exercise control over local communities with the aid of the baseball bat or the iron bar but who present a public image of jolly gatherings with the likes of Mary McAleese – a quaint mixture of the dark and light side of life.

    We voted for an agreement that offered a peaceful future in 1998 but the paramilitaries altered the nature of their violence and continued other forms of criminality

    “A report to the Northern Ireland Committee in the other place over a year ago from a reputable academic source said unequivocally that paramilitary child abuse had actually increased in the past few years since the Belfast agreement, and that the Provisional IRA has targeted children to a greater extent even than the loyalists. The youngest victim of a punishment beating seen by the surgeons in the Royal Victoria Hospital was just 14. The beatings are usually carried out with an iron bar, breaking both legs and arms, or with a nail-studded plank. There were many other such victims very little older. One 15-year old with special needs was hit across the face with an iron bar and beaten in his home for 20 minutes about the head and body, fracturing his jaw. His mother could do nothing.”

    More

    “Empowering local communities

    8.2 There is an urgent need for authority to be given back to general society from activist minorities and for new local leaders to be empowered. If there is more than a very small minority of former paramilitaries in local leadership, there will inevitably be uneasiness and the emergence of strong new leaders will be inhibited. People in some communities still feel that grants made to various neighbourhood projects are used to strengthen paramilitary penetration and control.

    8.3 For many years the power-base of the paramilitaries has been dependent upon maintaining division and polarisation in the local community. Unless this is recognised, no progress will be made.

    More

    And some folks will get upset because I refer to these paramilitary hoodlums as mobsters. So be it.

  • Egroeg

    [b]The articles in the southern constitution were and are irrelevant and insignificant since De valera interned Irish Republicans in the 1940s[/b]

    Ciarán
    If articles 2 &3 were so irrelevant why was it necessary to state they had been eradicated in the GFA?

    [b]We will have our country back[/b]]

    Back to when? The Anglo-Norman conquest ordered by 12th century Pope Adrian the 4th ?

    [b]No doubt about that.  It’s just that politics takes time, as a republican activist, I’ve become used to the quick hit, the instant gratification, if ya like.  But we gotta be patient, victory is ours [/b]

    I though the GFA states only when more than 50% of the citizens of NI vote by the ballot box to join Eire in a UI will it ever happen. Most democrats would agree with this. As a republican activist do you agree Ciarán ?

    [b]Mar shampla, how many of the last bunch of taoisigh from Lemas to Cosgrave to Fitzgerald to Haughey did ya hear trumpeting articles 2 and 3.  They were insignificant for decades.[/b]

    Could it not be possible that Lemas to Cosgrave to Fitzgerald to Haughey maybe never wanted SF from the north about the place down south. Like has been mentioned before, if SF are so popular with the population down south why is it they can still only pull in 6.5% of the popular vote in Eire?

    [b]Meanwhile the Govt. Of Ireland ACT, as
    decred by a English parliament is history, irreversible and criochnaithe.[/b]

    You forgot to mention the following five
    [b]ART Ó GRÍOBHTA (ARTHUR GRIFFITH)
    MICHEÁL Ó COILEÁIN
    RIOBÁRD BARTÚN
    EUDHMONN S. Ó DÚGÁIN
    SEÓRSA GHABHÁIN UÍ DHUBHTHAIGH[/b]
    also signed the Govt. Of Ireland ACT who were members of the IRB and some were heroes of the 1916 uprising glorified by SF today,

    One interesting point to mention forby the five Westminister Tory politicians who also signed the G of I ACT December 6th, I92I there wasn’t one Ulster Unionist Politician about the place.
    http://www.ucc.ie:8080/cocoon/celt/E900024

    The ballot box is stronger than the bullet

  • Egroeg

    {b]The articles in the southern constitution were and are irrelevant and insignificant since De valera interned Irish Republicans in the 1940s {/b]

    Ciarán, They are that irrelevant and insignificant, articles 2 & 3 are still recorded (including the amendment in the GFA) into the Constitution of Ireland.

    [i]The “national territory”

    Main article: Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution of Ireland

    As adopted in 1937 Articles 2 and 3 of the constitution made the controversial claim that the whole island of Ireland formed a single “national territory”. These articles offended Unionists in Northern Ireland who considered them tantamount to an illegal extra-territorial claim. Under the terms of the 1998 Belfast Agreement the state amended Articles 2 and 3 to remove reference to a “national territory” and to state that a united Ireland should only come about with the consent of a majority in Northern Ireland, but also to guarantee the people of Northern Ireland the right to be a “part of the Irish Nation” and to Irish citizenship.[/i]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_of_Ireland

  • kensei

    “So, what’s FGs mandate like in the 26 counties? Are they in Government? Is there a democracy down there?”

    Of course, the 26 counties operate by different rules, laid down in the Constitution, ratified by direct appeal to the people. The rules for this place were also agreed and accepted via referendum – direct democracy. Even if you were to run it again, Nationalists and moderates would pull it over 50% with ease. And the rules accepted by referendum say that SF, as the largest Nationlist party, have to be in government. In fact, even if they were the second largest Nationalist Party, it is likely they would still be required to be government.

    So, it leads us to the obvious conclusion. Don’t like how things are run up here? Want to keep SF out of power? Vote for a UI, then.

    Nevin

    You can spin all you like, but the answers to the questions I asked you remain no and no. Unless you have sdomehting new to add, it really is time to stop waffling.

  • Nevin

    Kensei, perhaps you could describe the composition of the Finaghy Crossroads Group before you churn out a smokescreen of waffle, b*g*t, etc?

    I think it’s a bad idea that paramilitary vigilantes should be involved in community control. How about you? What can you tell us about the methods these vigilantes use to exercise such control? What happens to those who disregard the ‘wishes’ of these vigilantes? Is it fair to say that these vigilantes vary the nature of their control for political or PR purposes?

  • kensei

    “Kensei, perhaps you could describe the composition of the Finaghy Crossroads Group before you churn out a smokescreen of waffle, b*g*t, etc?”

    Fortunately, I have no need to porve the innocence of anyone. The burden of proof rests with those who wish to prove guilt.

    “I think it’s a bad idea that paramilitary vigilantes should be involved in community control. How about you? What can you tell us about the methods these vigilantes use to exercise such control? What happens to those who disregard the ‘wishes’ of these vigilantes? Is it fair to say that these vigilantes vary the nature of their control for political or PR purposes? ”

    I do not know if the group is made of paramilitaries or ex paramilitaries or ex prisoners or whoever. Importantly, neither do you, and that is why you need to stop chucking about allegations without proof. If people have done things in the past, but are now telling people not to repeat the mistakes they made and are trying to actively reduce the problems that led them to make their mistakes, then yes, I believe they have an important role to play. If for example, this group was found to be adminstering punishment beatings, then they’d need disbanded and tried in a court fairly quickly.

    And that is the difference between you and me, Nevin. I am prepared to withold judgement until I proof and results. You judge before anything has happened. And that is why you are a b i g o t.