Is Trimble leading the UUP home?

David Trimbles (long awaited?) defection to the Tories provokes a number of different questions. Not least because of the fairly passive way in which Reg Empey greeted the news. David Sheils, a PhD student at Peterhouse, Cambridge ponders the possiblity that Trimble may be a trailblaizer for the rest of his party

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  • Elvis parker

    As Sluggerettes may now I am not a UU supporter or a Tory but this is a well written and well argued piece.
    The question is fast becoming one of why not?
    A radical alternative to the existing party set up would certainly be an interesting development

  • BT64

    It would be David Burnsides wet dream in any case

  • “The question is fast becoming one of why not? “

    For a start they’d quite possibly lose their only sitting MP along with anyone else who wouldn’t feel at home in the Tory party.

    There’s also the question of whether the Tories would want any kind of official merger with the UUP whilst they’re apparently still in decline.

  • Speaking of NI and the other UK parties, here’s a question from an American that probably seems silly, but: if the next general election produces a hung parliament with a Conservative plurality, is there any plausible scenario in which the DUP would support the Tories, from either inside or outside the government?

  • SuperSoupy

    While the UUP did badly in the Assembly elections people should remember how much support the Conservatives got – 3,000 odd votes. That isn’t going to rebuild the UUP.

    If there is a hope the ‘brand’ will bring success, just take a look the brand was utterly rejected – the UKUP and anti-policing Republicans eclipsed the Conservative vote base.

  • John East Belfast

    As an Ulster Unionist I am faced with two questions when I ponder this.

    1. Is the Union safe
    2. Am I a Tory

    I was always of the opinion that the existance of a unionist party meant we were ultimately failing as the existance of the unionist movement was only required to counter a separatist threat.
    I remember remarking at our Centenary dinner that I hoped we wouldnt have a Bi Centenary one. I am sure some among us might point out that my wish might be granted sooner rather than I thought !

    It would be foolish to think the Union is safe – I think the circumstances are there to afford opportunity to protect it but then the question is is a NI Unionist Party as opposed to a British political Party best placed to do that ?

    ie we are no longer threatened with Home Rule etc post GFA so perhaps circumstances have changed and indeed a unionist Party with its baggage only serves to alienate Catholic unionists ?

    Then am I a Tory – 20 years ago as a child of Maggie I certainly was.
    However I am sort of that “Socialist when your young and heart thing v capitalist when old and head” analogy in reverse.
    My right wing politics have mellowed.
    A lot of that has to do with being in the UUP where class difference is not relevant. It has opened my eyes to the fact that some people need help and that wealth needs better distributed if we want a fair and stable society.
    Having said that Cameron believes that too.

    However it would certainly split the Party again as it would be very wrong to think all UUP are Tory – indeed our own Association has two members I know who would be old labour and one who has no time for the Royal Family.

  • SuperSoupy

    JEB,

    I’m not part of it but you do miss one major positive – it could instantly modernise your party. Localism, personality and individual principle being side-lined for supporting only candidates that can win.

  • John East Belfast

    Supersoupy

    I am not so sure – I think political party associations the world over are all the same.

    Politics attracts a certain type of person and they are rarely reasonable by nature

  • Hekja

    “Politics attracts a certain type of person and they are rarely reasonable by nature ”

    Indeed, and particularly with reference to the collection of freaks that are running to be party officer on saturday.

  • jaffa

    JEB

    “is the union safe”

    Have you come across the concept of “marketing myopia”? It’s the error business types make when they become overawed by the features of their product, forget to keep revisting their customer’s underlying needs and so are overtaken by newer, more appropriate answers to those needs (think horses, trains, cars, homeworking).

    The union exists, not for itself, but to serve a purpose – the well-being of the unionist people.

    Your question might better be – “is the well-being of the unionist people safe”?.

    If you accept this then the question is whether Trimble’s move serves the unionist people, not an obsession with the union as a constitutional feature in itself.

    I think not; although it may well serve Mr. Trimble’s career.

    We’re in the fortunate position of having co-sponsors who seem prepared to go along with any solution that promises long term fairness and stability, a good deal of goodwill internationally and, if we can secure a bit of independence over our local economy, the chance to do some radical and flexible things, making the most of our geographical situation, which would certainly be impractical for the mainland and which would be unlikely to show in any Conservative Party manifesto.

  • bruce

    There is only one consideration for Cameron – which party will help him get to Downing Street. He knows he might need the DUP’s 9 or 10 MPs. Reports from within the DUP that he contacted Paisley and Robinson beforehand would confirm this view.

  • IJP

    beano

    That’s a blimmin’ good answer to the question, to be fair!

    jfruh

    Not a silly question at all.

    The Tories know the next election may be close, and they know the DUP will win about 10 seats to the Ulster Unionists’ one.

    The maths aren’t difficult!

    SuperSoupy

    Good points well made.

    JEB

    Is the Union safe?

    I will never understand why people obsess over this question, for the reason Jaffa outlines so outstandingly.

  • John East Belfast

    jaffa

    “If you accept this then the question is whether Trimble’s move serves the unionist people, not an obsession with the union as a constitutional feature in itself.”

    “The union exists, not for itself, but to serve a purpose – the well-being of the unionist people.”

    The Union to unionists is about more than what you can get from it – it is about your country and your nationality – speak for yourself if that aspect of your life is up for sale to the highest bidder.
    If your politics is about “marketing” and “customers” then good luck to you with New Labour I suppose – some of us also have principles.

    Therefore to unionists the question of the Union being safe remains paramount because that was the question that caused the Unionist Party to be set up in the first place.

    Trimble believes his work to secure NI within the Union has been done and he wants/has to move on. Some of us are not as sure and believe a unionist movement is required.

    If our support base (customers) become Irish nationalists then that is a different matter

  • John East Belfast

    IJP

    “Is the Union safe?

    I will never understand why people obsess over this question,”

    Well as you dont care either way and are happy to leave the decision to others then why should you understand ?

  • jaffa

    “Therefore to unionists the question of the Union being safe remains paramount because that was the question that caused the Unionist Party to be set up in the first place.”

    Wrong.

    The questions addressed by the convenant and the establishment of the Northern Irish Parliament was how best do we protect our civil, religious and political freedoms….and our commerce.

  • Aquifer

    They should merge, its the only way the UUP will ever reorganise or shed the sectarianism which dooms the Union anyhow.

  • páid

    I have been arguing on Slugger for some time that the Tories are increasingly the logical choice for most Protestants east of the Bann.

    And I never even went to Cambridge.

    JEB. You say…

    Therefore to unionists the question of the Union being safe remains paramount because that was the question that caused the Unionist Party to be set up in the first place

    Agreed. True.

    But what the Unionist Party was set up to thwart was Home Rule and Rome Rule.

  • mickhall

    It has been clear for some time that the GFA was never the British governments end game, now the Shinners have locked in stone the Union, they will move on with their plan for the two,[possible three IJP?] main UK parties to organize in the north of Ireland.

    The LP has already done some ground work, if the UUP remerge with the Tories there will be no reason why these parties would not be ready to contest the next general election but one. In the meantime the drip drip of revelations will discredit leading shinners, which would give an in for the LP if they played the green card, and without Paisley the DUP will look like an empty shell bar a hand full of unsophisticated bigots.

    After all Ulster Unionism has always been made up of a class conscious middle class leadership,[bar the odd aristo] lower middle class foot solders to do the donkey work and working class tories to doff their caps on order of their betters. The Cameron tory party in motion.

    just a thought 😉

  • slug

    JEB

    The exact quote by Winston Churchill is:

    “If a man is not a socialist by the time he is 20, he has no heart. If he is not a conservative by the time he is 40, he has no brain.”

    If you say that you were conservative at 20 and socialist at 40 follows you have neither 🙂

  • slug

    “without Paisley the DUP will look like an empty shell bar a hand full of unsophisticated bigots.”

    ?!

  • John East Belfast

    jaffa

    “Wrong.

    The questions addressed by the convenant and the establishment of the Northern Irish Parliament was how best do we protect our civil, religious and political freedoms….and our commerce.”

    The Covenant was signed in 1912 and the Northern Irish Parliament was formed 9 years after that.

    The UUC was created in 1905.

    Anyhow I am reading my grandfather’s 1912 Covenant and it talks about “our cherished position within the Union”

    Nobody is saying that Ulster was not very different than the rest of Ireland in the early 19th century in terms of religion and commerce and this shaped opposition to Home Rule. However there was also a British heart just as there was an Irish one

    – perhaps you are different and your politics is served by the highest bidder – but as I said speak for yourself.

  • John East Belfast

    slug

    perhaps it says I have both and always did ?

  • páid

    JEB,

    John Robb wrote to the Irish Times this week, quoting Carson.

    “If Home Rule is to pass, much as I detest it and little as I will take the responsibility for the passing of it, my earnest hope, and indeed I would say my earnest prayer, would be that the Government of Ireland for the South and West would prove and might prove such a success in the future, notwithstanding all our anticipations, that it might be even for the interests of Ulster itself to move toward that Government and come in under it and form one unit in relation to Ireland.”

  • jaffa

    “perhaps you are different and your politics is served by the highest bidder – but as I said speak for yourself.”

    I’d never pretend to speak for anyone else.

    You seem so excited by the promise of voting for a “proper” British party that you’re prepared to reorder your own personal social and economic priorities. “Am I a Tory?”.

    Who’s selling out?

  • SuperSoupy

    A smaller party merging into a larger one with initial promise – the UUP would become the SDP and the Conservatives would ensure they become ‘also rans’ everywhere in the north.

    The conservative party PEB showed how little DC cares. I could have added a fiver and got lights.

  • IJP, good to know I’m not a complete dummy. My question is, what would Cameron have to offer the DUP? Is there really much difference between Labour and Tory NI policies these days? Would some kind of junior cabinet post be on the offer?

  • Aquifer

    Mick Hall

    “It has been clear for some time that the GFA was never the British governments end game, now the Shinners have locked in stone the Union, they will move on with their plan for the two,[possible three IJP?] main UK parties to organize in the north of Ireland.

    The LP has already done some ground work,”

    Eh?

    Mick. Ever consider the possibility that its not about us, that our wee ulster is irrelevant to people in britain, that they could be shot of us and barely notice, that the british government is harely governing britain and has no conspiracies underway for no-win NI, that they don’t mind a small english speaking capitalist ally to the west ?

    And that any remaining unionist tendency in the government will be fully preoccupied holding on to Scotland?

    The protestants in ulster feel they need the union , and ‘british’ parties, more than the british feel they need the protestants.

    The impetus for labour and conservative organisation here is and was home grown.

    Bad news for irish separatists, but sure its only politics.

  • pith

    An interesting article particularly where it deals with the breakdown in Tory/UUP relations during the Heath and Thatcher leaderships.

    It raises too the Empey problem i.e. his failure to offer an alternative to the DUP. However, if the DUP has become the UUP then what can the UUP do? Formally joining the Conservative Party doesn’t answer the question.

    As for the issue of hung parliaments and DUP support for a Cameron administration which has been mentioned on this thread, no doubt Cameron has thought about that, no doubt Brown too has but surely only be as a small “what if”. Wouldn’t it be ironic if having followed Trimble, the DUP then started to sound like Molyneaux?

  • IJP

    JEB

    In all honestly, what are you talking about?

    After 80 years, there has been no recorded incidence of a Nationalist elected rep defecting to Unionism or vice-versa. Even Conor Cruise O’Brien showed his true colours in the end!

    We live in a divided society. Basically, if there’s a Protestant majority the Union’s safe – and if there isn’t, it’s not.

    Don’t kid yourself that there’s anything you can do about it.

    Jaffa is spot on of course.

    jfruh

    Cameron might have favours to offer the DUP in return for support at Westminister to secure his majority.

    That said, only once since the war has an election left NI parties as theoretical king makers – on that occasion (in 1974), they simply had another election a few months later!

  • Comrade Stalin

    The exact quote by Winston Churchill is:

    [..]

    Trivia point. The quote is commonly attributed to Churchill but there is no evidence that he actually said it.

    It’s a pretty silly comment anyway. A man who is a socialist when he’s 20 is a person who has chosen to reject pragmatic politics and wallow in the deranged fantasy of a mad bearded philosopher. There was a time when being a socialist might get you laid, but that doesn’t work anymore.

  • IJP

    … which is why you moved from State Socialism to anti-sectarian Liberalism, presumably Comrade?!

  • Greenflag

    Jaffa,

    ‘The union exists, not for itself, but to serve a purpose – the well-being of the unionist people. ‘

    That’s what Irish Nationalists have believed since the Act of Union which is why they oppose the Union. A political party which promotes the ‘well being ‘ of at most 15% of the population on this island or directly 7% (approx) of the population of Northern Ireland has a tough if not impossible task on it’s hands .

    ‘Your question might better be – “is the well-being of the unionist people’ safe”?.’

    An even better question is .

    Does the Union guarantee the interests /well being of the ‘unionist’ people in Northern Ireland or does it now hinder and restrict those interests.?

    The upcoming Scottish election is giving Scots an opportunity to answer that question in a somewhat less contentious political environment .

  • BonorLaw

    Greenflag

    “The upcoming Scottish election is giving Scots an opportunity to answer that question in a somewhat less contentious political environment”

    No. The upcoming Scottish election is giving Scots an opportunitty to kick Tony Blair in the balls before he leaves office.

  • Philip

    I love the Welsh 🙂
    I have yet to read the academic paper but look forward to doing so!

  • The inability of the Tories in Scotland to regain the swathes of ground it has lost would not bode well for any kind of UUP/ Tory party here. The UUP may be in trouble, but joining what will never amount to anything more than a fringe party in an NI context will do them no favours. Despite what the UUP may think, NI isn’t simply British- it’s simply a different kettle of fish althogether.

  • mickhall

    Mick. Ever consider the possibility that its not about us, that our wee ulster is irrelevant to people in britain, that they could be shot of us and barely notice, that the british government is harely governing britain and has no conspiracies underway for no-win NI, that they don’t mind a small english speaking capitalist ally to the west ?

    Aquifer

    Of course you are right about the attitude of the English people and those who live in the rest of the UK bar the north. Indeed one of the abnormalities of the last few decades is that British governments, whether Tory or Labour have been out of step with the people they govern on this issue. Most opinion polls have shown that the general population would have been only to keen to see the political reunification of Ireland.

    Instead their governments often against the peoples wishes have spent a tidy sum in both lives and gold to hang on to the north. Now they have finally achieved this they are hardly likely to depart, not least because having seen off one insurgency they do not wish to have their very own Organization de l’Armée Secrète. Nor do they wish to see an interminable political struggle in the north between the Paisleyites, who will try to turn the clock back, and SF who wish to re-ignite the arguments for reunification by political means. Better the north becomes like Finchley where people vote for tories, Labour and Lib Dems.

    As I said just a thought, but one cannot help but think some British politicos have far to smug a look on their faces these days.

  • BonarLaw

    El Matador

    “…it’s simply a different kettle of fish althogether.”

    As Wales is from Scotland, as London is from the English NE…

  • Wilde Rover

    Interesting article.

    Throw in a potential SDLP/FF merger and that would leave the DUP as the only major NI party left.

    That might make them a bit like the SNP in Scotland in a strange sort of a way. 😉

  • Ziznivy

    ‘The union exists, not for itself, but to serve a purpose – the well-being of the unionist people. ‘

    You’re not a unionist at all. You’re a nasty little ethno-religious nationalist, no better than Irish nationalists.

  • Greenflag

    ‘You’re a nasty little ethno-religious nationalist, no better than Irish nationalists.’

    So any people who decide that they would prefer national independence to ‘existence’ as a colony are ‘ethno -religious’ nationalists ?

    So that would lump Americans , Indians, Chileans , Brazilians , Poles and indeed every national and political independence movement since the collapse of colonial imperialism – in with Irish nationalists .

    Unionism’s blind spot is to see in the other what refuses to acknowledge or see in itself . The usual term for this affliction is hypocrisy !

  • John East Belfast

    IJP

    “In all honestly, what are you talking about?”

    In all honestly what are you talking about ?

    You said last night that you couldnt understand why unionists pr-occupied themslves with thinking whether the Union is safe or not. I reponded by saying that as you are not a gut unionist (ie you dont care) then that is hardly surprising.

    Therefore I assume by your 8.30 post you are saying the Union’s safety is outside of unionist’s control ?

    That is a ridiculous notion.

    The Union can be both protected and advanced by those who support it – it can also be screwed up by them as well.

    The bottom line is if there had been no UUC formed in 1905 there would be no such thing as Northern Ireland and if there had been no Unionist Parties since then there would be no Union now.

    The Alliance Party wouldnt have protected it.

  • Greenflag

    Bonar Law,

    ‘No. The upcoming Scottish election is giving Scots an opportunitty to kick Tony Blair in the balls before he leaves office. ‘

    Just as the Irish Nationalist/Independence movement was never about ‘kicking Britain in the balls ‘ but about establishing as much political independence as was possible from a too little and too late Westminster – so too the Scottish Nationalist/Independence movement is about a lot more than ‘kicking’ TB where it hurts . The Scots have been kicking the Tories for so long now that it’s little wonder that north of the border trying to find a Scottish Tory with balls intacta is about as likely as finding a Fenian being inducted into the OO in Ballymena !“…it’s simply a different kettle of fish althogether.”

    ‘As different as Wales is from Scotland, as London is from the English NE…’

    Nobody is questioning regional differences per se . We even have regional differences within the Irish Republic.

    But I don’t believe there is any great demand from the English NE or London for devolution !

    Scotland/Northern Ireland/Wales are all to a greater or lesser extent finding out how to make ‘devolution ‘ work if it can and if can’t then what will . In this they are all faced with are similar issues despite each being a different kettle of fish.

    Northern Ireland is however distinct from the others in already having had 50 years of ‘devolutionary practice’ 1920 to 1972 and in having seen it’s ‘devolution’ fail only to see it’s nearest neighbour’s ‘independence’ succeed .

  • Ziznivy

    “So any people who decide that they would prefer national independence to ‘existence’ as a colony are ‘ethno -religious’ nationalists ?”

    I’d say any people who fabricates themselves a nationality largely based on ethno-religious roots and then tries to base their state on this “nationality” is indeed and ethno-religious nationalist. And I certainly have a healthy detestation for Chechen, Kosovan, Basque seperatism etc.

    Unfortunately some “unionists” are still out for the interests of their particular Volk also and I think that undermines those of us who would like to define our state and predicate our nationality on secular considerations such as rights, freedoms and collective responsibilities.

  • Elvis Parker

    Yes JEB but what was appropriate in 1905 may not be ‘fit for purpose’ on 2007

  • Greenflag

    ‘you are saying the Union’s safety is outside of unionist’s control ?

    That is a ridiculous notion.’

    But a correct one . The ‘Union’ cannot be saved by the Unionists of NI . They are too small in number and too lacking in political influence . The Scots , Welsh and English will decide . Northern Ireland’s ‘unionists’ are at the mercy of other’s decision in this regard . Also the ‘Union’ is dependent on an unchanging demographic balance within NI which is by no means assured .

    ‘The Union can be both protected and advanced by those who support it – it can also be screwed up by them as well. ‘

    True . However n the eyes of those who are non Unionists and indeed among some ‘thinking’ Unionists – it appears that ‘screwing up’ seems to be the preferred practice within political unionism . Reggies choice of McGimpsey as a Minister just being the latest 🙁

  • BonarLaw

    Greenflag

    Your original reference was to the Scottish election not the entire nationalist agenda.

    BTW London already has devolution whilst the NE rejected it in a referendum.

  • jaffa

    Ziznivy,

    Ouch!

    Me

    “The questions addressed by the convenant and the establishment of the Northern Irish Parliament was how best do we protect our civil, religious and political freedoms….and our commerce.”

    You

    “those of us who would like to define our state and predicate our nationality on secular considerations such as rights, freedoms and collective responsibilities.”

    So I suggest that;

    1) unionism’s declared purpose was to protect civil political and religious freedoms and then

    2) I think these can now be secured irrespective of the union, and that

    3) therefore we can be flexible in our relations with everyone else on the island

    and you say this shows I am “a nasty little ethno-religious nationalist, no better than Irish nationalists”

    whereas, you declare your commitment to “rights, freedoms and collective responsibilities and you are neither nasty, little nor an ethno-religious nationalist.

    Nope; can’t get it….my brain has melted.

  • jaffa

    Ziznivy,

    If you’d followed the thread of my conversation with John from East Belfast he was calling me a sell-out and stating that the Union had intrinsic value in itself because you either have a “british heart” or an “irish heart” whereas I was saying that if it existed for enything, surely it was to serve the values listed above (as set out by unionists in the Ulster Covenant).

    Actually I’m getting pissed off now. You really need to learn to read Ziznivy, before you try the tricky thinking stuff.

  • Ziznivy

    Jaffa, the clue is that you seek these criteria for one group, and you say “unionists”, but have no inherent belief that the union is necessarily worth defending in itself. Now when you take the union out of unionism I think we get closer to your real concern which is for Ulster protestants. Now that kinda falls into the catgeory of an ethno-religious group! You follow?

    I champion the union because I believe enshrined in the very fibre and constitution United Kingdom, are the civic rights, freedoms and also the responsibilities of which I speak and I believe that that Union has therefore an inherent value.

    Pretty profound difference I would say, the odd mutual use of a word or two not withstanding.

  • Greenflag

    ‘And I certainly have a healthy detestation for Chechen, Kosovan, Basque seperatism etc.’

    You might want to rethink your ‘healthy detestation’

    Kosovo demographics

    92% Albanians (between 2,272,000 and 2,400,000)
    6.5% Serbs (between 126,000 and 140,000)
    0.9% Bosniaks (between 20,200 and 28,000)
    1.7% Roma (between 30,600 and 34,000) (see also Roma in Mitrovica Camps)
    1.1% Turks (between 18,000 and 25,000)
    0.5% Gorani (approx. 12,000)

    What exactly would be ‘unhealthy’ about the Kosovars ‘uniting ‘ with Albania when 92% (probably more now) of the population are Albanian ?

    Only the Serbians and Russians are opposed. And both of those States have a long way to go to ‘prove’ their democratic credentials .

    As for the Basques I don’t see any good reason why the Basques should not be politically separate from Spain if that is the desire of the majority of Basque people.

    94% of the population of Chechenya is Chechen with just over 3% Russian . Surely the wishes of the 94% should count for more than those of the 3%?

    ‘Unfortunately some “unionists” are still out for the interests of their particular Volk also and I think that undermines those of us who would like to define our state and predicate our nationality on secular considerations such as rights, freedoms and collective responsibilities. ‘

    This is just one more of the ‘inherent’ self contradictory conundrums that are to be found within within Unionism . Originally pre 1920 Unionism gradually changed from the genuine ‘Quis Separabit ‘ to the almost ‘herrenvolk’ variety of Unionism 1920 to 1972 . The latter variety understood in their ‘guts’ that the Union could only be maintained by keeping the Fenians down /culled back / politically weak etc etc . The mix of religious and ethno cultural differences were added into the political pot with a vengeance .

    Not surprising that in these more ‘enlightened ‘ days the rump ‘Quis Separabit’ variety of Unionist should be looking askance at the ‘volk’ variety springing up which is/was ? attempting to create an NI based largely on ethno/religious roots. There must be an overwhelming sense of deja vu when the former consider the latter . And why not ? Having been down that road already and seeing it ‘fail’ there is a patent disbelief that the ‘others’ cannot see the errors of OUR previous ways .

    Funny I’ve always noticed that it’s always the ‘others’ who get it wrong 🙂 ?

    ‘I think that undermines those of us who would like to define our state and predicate our nationality on secular considerations such as rights, freedoms and collective responsibilities.’

    Time will of course tell whether the ‘undermining’ becomes more than just that. Sometimes history takes a new turn- a departure from what was previously assumed would be the future/futures . Very few people in 1988 would have predicted the end of the Soviet Union by 1990 ?

  • Greenflag

    Bonar Law ,

    ‘BTW London already has devolution ‘

    So where is London’s Assembly ? Slough ? Hemel Hempstead ? Chelsea . I must have missed it ?

    I understood Ken Livingstone’s title is Mayor of London and not First Minister ?

  • BonarLaw

    Greenflag

    it’s here.

    Note, if you will, the LONDON ASSEMBLY tab.

  • BonarLaw
  • BonarLaw

    ffs

    here

  • jaffa

    “I champion the union because I believe enshrined in the very fibre and constitution United Kingdom, are the civic rights, freedoms and also the responsibilities of which I speak and I believe that that Union has therefore an inherent value.”

    So these rights and freedoms aren’t available in either a united Irish Republic / Commonwealth or any potential, mutually agreed Northern Irish or Ulster scenario you can think of?

    They must be delivered through the union because that’s just intrinsically better than anything that might me more acceptable to nationalists or liberal “unionists” (call them prods, ethnically British or whatever you like but we both know who we are) who would like to live in partnership and reconciliation with the people who share their island.

    Just because you say so then.

  • Ziznivy

    “You might want to rethink your ‘healthy detestation’

    Kosovo demographics

    92% Albanians (between 2,272,000 and 2,400,000)
    6.5% Serbs (between 126,000 and 140,000)
    0.9% Bosniaks (between 20,200 and 28,000)
    1.7% Roma (between 30,600 and 34,000) (see also Roma in Mitrovica Camps)
    1.1% Turks (between 18,000 and 25,000)
    0.5% Gorani (approx. 12,000)”

    Yes. A really thorough job of ethnic cleansing, and one which continues to this day. A job which had already cost more Serb lives lost to the KLA than any action Milosevic had taken. before the bombings hardened the Serb position. The penny may not have dropped yet, but as someone who is convinced ethnic nationalism is a bad thing, I will hardly be convinced by arguments for new states based on ethnic figures. The fact is that an independent Kosovo would become a bandit state, a centre of crime and terrorism and a rallying cry for every hill tribe living in a remote valley anywhere in Europe to declare their independence.

    See the above for Chechnya, only much more so.

  • BonarLaw

    Jaffa

    there is nothing intrinsically contradictory about supporting the Union and wishing to “live in partnership and reconciliation” with our nationalist minority and neighbouring state.

    However, what is contradictory is for a unionist (liberal or otherwise) to believe that the Union isn’t better than any alternative senario.

  • Greenflag

    Bonar Law,

    Thanks 🙂 I note it took three attempts to find your London Assembly . No wonder I’ve never heard of it 🙂

    Obviously the LA is a different kettle of Assembly fish than the NI Assembly . I mean the latter has 108 members for a population of 1.7 million whereas London has a population of 7 million approx and an Assembly of 25 members ?

    So by London standards Northern Ireland should have an Assembly with 6 members ? or by Northern Ireland standards London should have an Assembly with 432 members ?

    Something is rotten in the State of Devolution and I have the feeling it’s not just the different kettles of fish ?

    Thanks anyway for the info .

  • BonarLaw

    Greenflag

    it’s actually easier to find in real life on the south bank of the Thames just before Tower Bridge- I promise you you can’t miss it.

    And, yes, the London Assembly is different to the NI Assembly, which is different to the Scottish Parliament which is different to the London Assembly etc, etc … it’s called asymetrical devolution. However there is one common starting point to all the devolution schemes currently up and running- primary legislation followed by referendum.

    If you want a debate about inflated representation go to New Hampshire where there is one lower house state legislator for every 3,000 residents. Transpose that to NI and you get 533 MLAs. Hold that thought!

  • Gerd Muller

    I’m not entirely opposed to all nationalism.

    Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

    The legacy of German nationalism is twofold for example – on one hand we have Hitler, on the other we have leather chaps. Now whilst Hitler may have been a bad thing, it would be terribly wrong to discard leather chaps because of him.

  • Snaz

    Hekja,
    A strange comment about the “collection of freaks running for party officer on Saturday”.

    I would have hoped that you would have had more of an open mind about individuals you dont know who are VOLUNTEERING to play a leadership in realingning the UUP with all other major political party structures.

    As one of the “freaks” (I would say that would I not) but let me assure you that anyone who has a passion for our great Party, Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom would wish to see the UUP and other Unionists producing positive policy to promote the Union and to make a real impact on our peoples lifes and futures. This is the only way we can improve Unionisms pathetic 50% turnouts and confirm Northern Ireland as a great place to live, work and play as a succesful region of one of the worlds great nations.

    Anyway I take it you will abstain on Saturday (or not turn up) as why would you want to vote for such people.(freaks)

    Alternatively you could go along, inform yourself of the skills base being made available to you and vote accordingly.(If any of us reflect your views)

  • Julian Robertson

    JEB

    “However it would certainly split the Party again as it would be very wrong to think all UUP are Tory ….”

    Absolutley Correct.

  • Scotsman

    Bonar, we in Scotland had our 1997 referendum first, then our legislation.

    BTW, why is Trimble up in Scotland. After a few Rangers votes for the Tories, maybe?

    http://news.scotsman.com/politics.cfm?id=600592007

  • Ziznivy

    “BTW, why is Trimble up in Scotland. After a few Rangers votes for the Tories, maybe?”

    Aye. Because DT is a regular Billy Hun. Dear god. I’m so glad I got out of Scotland.

  • Greenflag

    Ziznvy ,

    Heres some clarification on the ‘thorough ethnic cleansing ‘ you refer to .

    ‘In 1989, MiloÅ¡ević, employing a mix of intimidation and political maneuvering, drastically reduced Kosovo’s special autonomous status within Serbia. Soon thereafter Kosovo Albanians organized a non-violent separatist movement, employing widespread civil disobedience, with the ultimate goal of achieving the independence of Kosovo. Kosovo Albanians boycotted state institutions and elections and established separate Albanian schools and political institutions. On July 2, 1990, an unconstitutional Kosovo parliament declared Kosovo an independent country, although this was not recognized by Belgrade or any foreign states. Two years later, in 1992, the parliament organized an unofficial referendum which was observed by international organizations but was not recognized internationally. With an 80% turnout, 98% voted for Kosovo to be independent.’

    Perhaps the Kosovars might have been happy to keep their special autonomous status within Serbia ? Perhaps Ireland would have remained a part of the UK under Home Rule? Once Milsevic drastically reduced Kosovo’s autonomy (think Ireland’s limiteded autonomy prior to the Act of Union he effectively handed over the political agenda to the Kosovar ultra nationalists . Once Unionists ‘rejected’ Home Rule they effectively set the rest of Ireland on the road to full political independence.

    ‘The fact is that an independent Kosovo would become a bandit state, a centre of crime and terrorism and a rallying cry for every hill tribe living in a remote valley anywhere in Europe to declare their independence. ‘

    You mean like the Irish Free State was ? Or the USA , India etc etc ? . For the former think of the ‘ethnic cleansing ‘ of Empire Loyalists to the Canada , West Indies and back to England . For the latter think the break up into predominantly Muslim Pakistan and Hindu India .

    Who decides who is a hill tribe and who is a ‘nation ‘ ? Albania is eventually going to be a part of the EU and if Kosovo is part of such an Albania why not ? Serbia too will probably become a member .

    But there is no point /purpose in the Serbs pretending that Kosovo is a part of Serbia because a famous Serbian King won a battle in Kosovo agains the Turks? in 1344 ? . Just as pointless as future predominantly Unionist State (post repartition) demanding that the river Boyne should belong to the new Unionist State because King Billy won a battle there in 1690 !

    And on the subject of an ‘ethno-religious predominantly Unionist State ‘ in East Ulster all I would say is that if such a ‘nation’ever emerges whether post a break up of the British Union (UK) or in opposition to being absorbed by the Irish Republic then we as Irish people should recognise such an entity and endeavour to cooperate with it as good neighbours .

  • Elvis Parker

    Snaz
    ‘play as a succesful region of one of the worlds great nations.’
    But to go back to thread and to address your remark about turnout it is being suggested that the best way to do these things might be to play a FULL part in the politics of that great nation – by mergering with Tories.
    Realigning structures alone will achieve little.

    After all Westminster sets:
    Company tax
    Income Tax
    VAT
    Excise duty and fuel duty
    Road tax

    You are surely interested in UK matters and not just devolved matters?

  • Ziznivy

    ‘In 1989, Milošević, employing a mix of intimidation and political maneuvering, drastically reduced Kosovo’s special autonomous status within Serbia. Soon thereafter Kosovo Albanians organized a non-violent separatist movement, employing widespread civil disobedience, with the ultimate goal of achieving the independence of Kosovo. Kosovo Albanians boycotted state institutions and elections and established separate Albanian schools and political institutions. On July 2, 1990, an unconstitutional Kosovo parliament declared Kosovo an independent country, although this was not recognized by Belgrade or any foreign states. Two years later, in 1992, the parliament organized an unofficial referendum which was observed by international organizations but was not recognized internationally. With an 80% turnout, 98% voted for Kosovo to be independent.’

    Utter jaundiced, one-sided drivel. As useful as the usual pish about colonialism we here about NI.

  • jaffa

    BL

    “However, what is contradictory is for a unionist (liberal or otherwise) to believe that the Union isn’t better than any alternative senario.”

    Can I just refer you to my earlier post (No 10) regarding Marketing Myopia.

  • Snaz

    Elvis Parker (Great names)
    Of course I want to see a Northern Ireland that plays its full role in our national life but I have always been a Devolutionist as it is only by making Government truly accountable to local people that we can ensure a real say in how Northern Ireland is run.

    In the future, when we our local institutions have developed real political maturity and crucially when we have clear public trust and support there are a number of other measures which might be devolved.

    This is what a modern United Kingdom should be about. National values and national interests delivered in an accountable, local fashion.

  • BonarLaw

    Scotsman

    quite right.

    1997 was pre legislative, 1979 post. My mistake.

  • Greenflag

    Ziznvy,

    ‘Utter jaundiced, one-sided drivel.

    Wikepedia I’ll admit is not the greatest reference source so you might want to let them know the ‘unjaundiced’ Serbian truth ?

    ‘As useful as the usual pish about colonialism we hear about NI.’

    Even the English refer to Ireland as their first colony. Many expect NI to be their last .

  • IJP

    Jaffa may be getting angry, but still speaks my view much more eloquently than I could!

    Greenflag

    Indeed. We cease to be a colony on 8 May.

  • Green Flag

    I can’t believe you didn’t know about the London Assembly until you were enlightened. Your knowledge of UK devolution is so wide.

  • Greenflag

    ijp,

    ‘We cease to be a colony on 8 May.’

    Thats right . From May 8 only half a colony :)It’s at least progress in the right direction .

    Watchman,

    ‘I can’t believe you didn’t know about the London Assembly’

    Me too:) BTW London is a great city which I particularly like but it is not the centre of the Irish universe. One of the problems of not being a Unionist is that one loses the need to be London focused 🙂

    My interest in devolution to the extent that I have an interest extends to Scotland and NI .More the former than the latter as in the former they have had several years practical experience of the effect and limitations of devolution . The former is also a more ‘natural’ construct in that power sharing /coalition building is /will be voluntary unlike the forced NI model.

    Devolution strikes me as the midway point across the abyss that leads from direct Westminster rule to full independence . NI discovered this back in 1972 but this obviously went unnoticed at that time.

    Devolution may not be the right ‘solution’ to maintaining the Union such as it exists . The lack of interest among the English regions and Englands predominant nation status within the UK are IMO the main factors which militate against successful devolution. German and American federalism work IMO because no single ‘devolved’ region (State or Lander) in either country or economy makes up 80% of the population or economy such as is the case in the UK.

  • BonarLaw

    Greenflag

    You are getting tied in up in knots because you are confusing federalism and devolution. Not the same things at all.

  • Greenflag

    Bonar law,

    ‘You are getting tied in up in knots because you are confusing federalism and devolution. Not the same things at all’

    Did I say they were ? I was making the point that both German and American ‘federalism’ work and suggesting that ‘devolution’ appears to be unsatisfactory in Scotland and has been extremely difficult to get off the ground in Northern Ireland .

    Between ‘devolution ‘ and outright independence a ‘federal ‘ arrangement could present itself as an alternative to a total implosion of the UK?

  • Bob Wilson

    Mr Shiels’ article is very interesting – except for the fact that it is fantasy.
    The Conservative Party has no interest in mergering with the UUP.
    Conservative minded individuals currently in the UUP have an open invitation to join – and increasing numbers are both coming over and expressing interest.

    What has UUP to offer? A left wing MP who hates her Leadership. A Leader who cannot lead? Not to mention the fact that it has too much historical baggage to mount a serious revival.

    The interesting part of Sir Reg’s interview on Hearts and Minds was his admission that Trimble left because regional parties can have no influence at Westminster – to me you have to question the unionism of someone who does not want to influence Westminster or play some part in national politics.

    For Sir Reg and his allies the survival of the party is the be all and end all – even when they publicly realise it is bad for unionism

    With no sympathetic MPs the Tories have now taken the last thing of interest and use to them in the UUP – David Trimble.

    UUP MLAs with Conservative sympathies must ask themselves whether they ought to jump ship and see if they can help build real politics in NI through the Conservatives or simply slip beneath the waves with Reg.

  • páid

    Bob’s right of course.

    Lady Hermon is allowed to be a lefty because the UUP is a unionist party first and foremost. And that’s about it. You can nearly be a Trotskyite as long as you’re against a UI.

    The Conservative Party takes unionism for granted. And takes a centre-right view on life.

    SDLP next to go.

  • Sarah

    David Trimble’s